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

Thursday 13 June 2019

Review: Young Dark Emu: A Truer History

It is evident from the stunning cover that great thought has gone into the design and presentation of this outstanding production. 

Black, ochre, and the rich reddish colour of earth have been used as background for the emu, fish, yam daisy, and a settler riding a horse which indicate the content. 

These colours that continue throughout the book reflect the Indigenous people, their culture, and powerful bond with Country.

‘Dark Emu is a shape in the dark areas between the stars of the Milky Way.’

Young Dark Emu has been taken from Bruce Pascoe’s award-winning book for older readers and made accessible to the younger generation. First-hand accounts from the diaries of settlers and explorers allow readers to experience ‘a different way of seeing’ the history of Australia’s early settlement.

Pascoe argues and gives evidence of how structured the lives of Australia’s Aborigines were before the Europeans arrived, contradicting the belief that they were nomads. The first Australians were organized, inventive, resourceful and ingenious in their approach to caring for the land and providing food for their families and communities. They had grain storages, and preserved food. Their knowledge of agriculture and aquaculture was beyond belief with fishing systems offering all they needed for food while allowing for breeding to maintain their supply. Homes were well-built structures in villages with incredible designs. This is confirmed by the explorers who documented what they saw through words and images.

This book will give birth to many questions about the history offered to us surrounding the type of people Indigenous Australians were before the settlers came. Set under eight headings, the text is accompanied by images from The Sketchbook Scenes from Aboriginal Life by Kwat Kwat artist, Tommy McCrae, and other beautifully presented illustrations whose information is listed in detail on the Picture Credits page at the end.

Here is a superior work of art in many forms. Its content is valuable and important. It presents readers with a significant and different point from which to examine what we have been told and taught, and the opportunity to make our own decision about what is true. 

Title: Young Dark Emu: A Truer History
Author: Bruce Pascoe
Publisher: Magabala Books, $24.99
Publication Date: June 2019
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781925360844
For ages: 11+
Type: Picture Book