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

Saturday 7 March 2020

Review: Brother Moon

A young boy sits by the fire with his Great-Grandpa Liman.

Great-Grandpa Liman wants to tell him about his brother.

‘Who is your brother?’ the little boy asks. 

My brother is wise and never grows old. 

As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, my brother stops by. 

He knows that I am wary of the darkness.

On each turn of the page, Great-Grandpa Liman continues his story about how his brother guides him through the night.

My brother can be big and bold. Even when he is half there, he is my brother and he is always with me.

As Great-Grandpa Liman tells his story, we see glimpses of his life: hunting for tucker in the cool night, rowing through the mangrove forest, avoiding snakes in his shack. It reveals a relationship with the earth and planets — a connection with nature.

This is a quiet but powerful book that leaves an imprint on your heart and soul. It's about family, tradition, nature and the stories that make us who we are.

It's also beautifully engaging for young audiences. As you read through the book, children can ponder who Great-Grandpa Limen's brother is along with the little boy. There are clues along the way and opportunity to guess at the end. It’s such a beautiful story, and it will spark so many conversations about the moon, our earth, nature and culture.

The illustrations — like the text — can’t not affect you. The pages are filled with deep night-hue blues and purples. Shadowy blacks contrast against the bright white of the moon. It’s magical. Samantha Fry, of the Dagiman people of the Katherine region in the Northern Territory, is a great talent. These are illustrations you will want to put on your wall.

At the back of the book, you’ll learn about the real Great-Grandpa Liman, a respected Wadjigany man and a leader amongst his people. Author Maree McCarthy Yoelu, a Wadjigany woman from the western Wagait region in the Northern Territory, is Liman’s granddaughter, and she writes to keep his stories and the Batjatmalh language alive.

This is Maree McCarthy Yoelu’s first book, and I’m already eagerly awaiting her second.

For another beautifully illustrated book by Samantha Fry, make sure you check out Alfred’s War.

Title: Brother Moon
Author: Maree McCarthy Yoelu
Illustrator: Samantha Fry
Publisher: Magabala Books, $24.99
Publication Date: March 2020
Format: Hard Cover
ISBN: 9781925936827
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book