'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Review: Shake a Leg

Shake a Leg is about three hungry boys hunting for pizza in far North Queensland, when they come across a pizzeria. What they find is an Italian speaking ‘Murri fella’, and a feast accompanied by stories from the past.

This book cleverly weaves Indigenous culture through the stories told by the Murri fella, which relate to the food served to the boys. Crocodile pizzas and the boy who went hunting in the wrong waterhole and honey milkshakes accompanied by the warning dance about the stinging bee.

It is wonderfully illustrated and explores a variety of fundamental concepts such as cultural understanding, family and spirituality. When you view the visuals of the boys and men dancing, you can sense the underlying meaning to the dances and the great importance it holds to the people … beautiful.

I found this to be a wonderful teaching resource as I was able to incorporate it with a music and movement session that I retrieved from the teacher’s notes featured on the Allen & Unwin website. The children found great pleasure in this and were able to relate it back to the book during further readings.

As a teacher of early childhood, I find it difficult to find entertaining texts for young children that explore Aboriginal culture in a way that does not represent Indigenous people as monolithic and unchanging. Shake a Leg was able to fuse both now and then in a pleasurable visual delight and give insight to contemporary Aboriginal life.

- this review by Bree Sherd

Title: Shake A Leg
Author: Boori Monty Pryor
Illustrator: Jan Ormerod
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $24.99 RRP
Publication Date: October 2010
Format: Hard Cover
ISBN: 9781741758900
For ages: 6 - 10  
Type: Picture book