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

Friday 2 July 2021

Review: Story Doctors

Nothing less than spectacular, Story Doctors is well-timed for NAIDOC week, 4 –11 July. The empowering theme this year, is Heal Country, from the meaningful words from the heart of Boori Monty Pryor, who was Australian Children’s Laureate in 2012– 2013. 

This book was written during the lockdown in 2020. Pryor's words are easily identified as healing words; for our country’s Covid illness, as well as the one between our Indigenous people and ourselves.

The cover depicts two outstretched hands reaching toward one other.

One is white, the other made of Indigenous coloured spirals with small Australian animals hidden within. Images and text speak of unity and repairing relationships.

The text is an ode to Country, hope, learning, Land, nature and culture. The poetry begins with footsteps showing the Indigenous trail left in the Earth; of people, animals, plants, fire and all living things.

Here you will acknowledge the astonishing detail in the illustrations created by Rita Sinclair. It will need concentration to take it all in.

Kookaburras, black cockatoos, emus, hedgehogs and countless other Australian mammals watch as charcoal drawings appear on the cave walls. The hand creating them is from a tall being represented by a flurry of colour, lifted up from the charred ground, that is part of all that was and is.

Countless hands use spit and ochre, to record the story of our First Nations people.

Double wordless spreads depict nature's beauty. It is an  opportunity to immersive yourself and create your own story. An eagle flies overhead. The ground is alive with movement as animals graze and the coloured whirly man stands watch behind the bushes.

Our future is the past. Twirling ribbons float like feathers in the wind toward twirling strips of paper with a visual history of Australia on the outside, and a verbal history on the inside.  

In us the dust we trust.

The story nears the end with charred trunks of trees and ground with shoots of green growth. Nature nurtures roots anew. Rebirth from the darkness of the earth.

The dance begins together – animals and beings; past, present and future, move together to a new sound, which is the pulse of the Land, found in the roots of trees, the sound of birds, of bees, of racing streams. All eco echoes.

Title: Story Doctors
Author: Boori Monty Pryor 
Illustrator: Rita Sinclair
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $ 24.99
Publication Date: 2 July 2021
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781760526559
For ages: 5+
Type: Picture Book