The award winning author/illustrator, David Cox has yet again produced a wonderful, quality children’s picture book which serves many purposes. It contains a true story, has excellent line drawn art work that is expressive and is produced in a format easily accessible for children. This is the story of David’s own childhood.
The outback life that many children live is remote and quite mysterious for many city kids. By his art work and his words, David brings us into this world he lived in as a child. The focus on this aspect of Australian life helps promote the country, while showing how farmers also have hardships and struggles, but of a different kind.
The end pages are pure sunshine, setting the mood for the story with warmth and openness. The story tells of a family who live on a sheep station, in the outback. The narrator of the story is young David who loves being surrounded by animals. He is very proud of his Dad, whose prize possession is his saddle. David is lonely at times though as his sisters and brother are away at boarding school. He does his school work most days. It comes in an envelope, and his Mum supervises him.
Life on a sheep station poses many challenges, but also times when Aussie humour shines through. At a picnic a ‘big man sat on a coiled up death adder’. Mum said ‘that Mr Cameron was alright, it was the snake I felt sorry for,.. it looked quite depressed’.
The drought times came, and the horror of dying and emaciated animals was an everyday reality. David’s father grew ill and when David was at School, his father died. In the bleakest of times there can be wonderful gestures made. The new owner of the sheep station passed David’s fathers saddle to him as he sat on the train at the railway station.
David Cox will hopefully write many more of his wonderful stories, keeping outback Australia and Aussie humour alive and accessible for children. His artwork certainly adds to the sense of the country and the time. It shows great movement and expression. This book is certainly “Good enough for a sheep station”
|Publisher||Allen & Unwin Childrens|