Possum and Wattle

Possum and Wattle: A Big Book of Australian Words by Bronwyn Bancroft

This alphabet book takes readers on a journey through Australia.  Mixed in with words that are familiar, like ants and apple, are fascinating words like adze, bandicoot, and dingo.  The book is illustrated with the Aboriginal art of Bronwyn Bancroft, a Bundjalung artist who demonstrates her skill and knowledge of Australian through her art.  The art is filled with dots, amazing color combinations, and energy.  It is through Bancroft’s art in particular that readers really get to see frogs, fish and other mundane words with a new eye.  In the art, they become fantastical, strange and uniquely beautiful.

I appreciated the mix of the normal words with Aboriginal ones.  The combination makes the book inviting and intriguing at the same time.  I am also in awe of the art here.  It is accessible to children, beautifully rendered and so very evocative of the region.  The result is a book that truly is Australia between two covers.

Highly recommended, this book opens the world of Australia to young readers who will probably want to learn far more.  Appropriate for ages 2-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

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