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

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Review: Oakies Outback Adventures Series

This series of five books are works adapted from our great Australian classics: The Man from Snowy River, Waltzing Matilda, A Bush Christening, Mulga Bill’s Bicycle and The Loaded Dog.

Troy Dann uses quirky computer generated images to make timeless stories accessible to children by creating a weird twist. While the original text remains largely untouched, the visuals create a whole new world. As a result, these tales will never be the same.

Oakie is a purple bulldog who lands in Australia instead of Texas. Action Dann guides him around the outback, telling the classics with friends they meet along the way. Most of theses characters are animals. The Jolly Swagman is a bull with corks on the end of his horns. I’m guessing the corks keep everyone safe. Bushmen in The Man from Snowy River range from a purple-beaked, yellow cockatoo to a horse riding crocodile in cowboy boots.

A Bush Christening is my favourite. When Mike’s parents resolve to have him christened, no one tells the boy what a christening is. If being branded in God’s flock is anything like what happens to the cattle, Mike’s not having anything to do with it. The comedy that follows is a delight. I would never have known about this classic if it hadn’t been for Troy Dann and his computer generated friends.

These hardbacks would be perfect gifts for non-Australian and Australian kids alike. Adult lovers of the classics will either be charmed by this alternative presentation or not. As with all books, it's a personal thing.

Although the Oakie’s Outback characters are nothing like I imagined in the original texts by Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson, the tales do remain intact. There are 3D animated DVDs available that go with the books. Take a look at www.oakie.com.au.

Enjoy the difference.

- this review by Jo Burnell

Title: Oakies Outback Adventures Series, adapted from Poems by A.B. ‘Banjo’ Patterson and a story by Henry Lawson
Author/Illustrator: Troy Dann
Publisher: New Holland Publishers, $19.95 per book
Publication Date: August 2011
ISBN: 9781742571737
For ages: 5 - 105
Type: Picture Book