Genre: Children’s picture books
Publisher: Magabala Books
Authors: Ambelin Kwaymullina; Helen Milroy; and Sally Morgan
Published: February, March, and April 2021

Magabala Books have recently published three beautiful children’s picture books that share important lessons for children of different ages. As always, these books from Magabala are beautiful, enriching, and colourful. While I am not an avid reader of children’s books I was reminded of the time I would spend totally captivated by illustrations and the first stories I heard as a child. It is so important for children to consume picture books and for adults to share that moment with a child—there is nothing more magical!

Ambelin Kwaymullina’s Billie and the Blue Bike is a moral tale with bright, charming illustrations. The picture book is about a young girl named Billie who longs for a blue bike but doesn’t have enough pocket money saved up. Billie learns through trial and error, and a lot of hard work, how to earn pocket money to purchase her dream bike. This is a wonderful book that teaches a moral lesson to young children, and I really enjoyed reading Billie’s interactions with her mother, uncle, and cousins and learning about the different relationships she has with them. Billie and the Blue Bike also showcases strong family ties, dedication, and support. It is a wonderful, thoughtful picture book that introduces financial literacy knowledge to children aged 6 to 9, and the plot could easily be followed along by younger children if read aloud.

Helen Milroy’s The Emu Who Ran Through The Sky is the second book in the ‘Tales from the Bush Mob’ children’s book series. Lofty the emu want to win the emu race but is a young, clumsy emu and gets teased by the stronger, faster emus for fumbling and losing his first race. Lofty, with the help of his friends Eagle, Sugar Glider, Bat, and Platypus, wins the emu race by flying! The animal characters have vivid personalities and work together to help Lofty by combining their individual talents for success. The Emu Who Ran Through The Sky is a tale that brings bush animals into the imaginations of children and teaches them about friendship, courage, and determination. I think it is a great book for children aged 6 to 9 that tells how each child has individual talents and how by working together they can lift up others. This is a longer book that could potentially be harder for smaller children read by themselves so I suggest reading along with your little one to see how they go!

Sally Morgan’s Welcome, child! is a gorgeous lyrical little picture book for very young children. It is a brightly coloured board book that will feel sturdy in small hands and the pages are easy to turn. The font is large and the shapes simple—perfect for little ones to comprehend. Welcome, child! is a lovely celebration of a new baby and unconditional familial love; the whole world, from the birds to the flowers, are excited to meet the new baby. I think this would be a lovely gift for a family to share with their new child as it is the perfect book for adults to read to children under the age of 3.

All three of Magabala Books’ new children’s picture books present a brilliant opportunity for children to develop their reading and learn at the same time. Each book is doubly wonderful because it engages Indigenous Australian children with characters and settings that are recognisable and unique to themselves. The representation of Indigenous children, families, and Land is incredibly important because it creates a safe, friendly space for them to learn. I can see these picture books being enjoyed by children and parents alike!

Underground Team
editors.underground.writers@gmail.com

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