I could say that I have three nieces and two nephews and so I have a familial interest in children’s books, but I have a personal interest in children’s books too. Children’s books are adorably nostalgic to me and there’s a true art to getting a story across in seemingly a page’s worth of text. I’m in a time of change – I’ve just started my Masters and I’m saving to move out – so there was a quiet comfort in getting to review some children’s books this month.
Jasmine Seymour’s Baby Business shares a very intimate and sacred Indigenous ceremony known as the ‘Baby Smoking Ceremony’, in which various native plants are burned to produce a cleansing smoke to clear out the bad spirits. The ceremony is intended to make way for a bright future for the baby. The book describes different smoke being for different ‘blessings’, such as smoke on the chest to keep “Mudjin and Country” close to one’s heart. The book uses several colloquialisms which gives the book both an educational and an entertainment purpose.
I think the beauty of this book was as the reader, being given the honour to appreciate a very sacred Indigenous ritual and being able to share that with others. The illustrations are beautiful for their rustic and simplistic style, which adds to the story’s simplicity and overall beauty.
Malibirr & Morgan’s Little Bird’s Day is an idyllic children’s book about a native bird’s day and its various activities. From waking up in the morning to finding a safe tree for the night, Little Bird’s Day is a sweet story. I think what I particularly liked was the bird’s interactions with every day elements and objects.
“Here comes Cloud, huffing and puffing. Time to play Little bird, time to spin across the sky. I travel with Cloud to chase my feathery friends.”
Morgan and Malibirr weave a very adorable story for this bird. The illustrations are slightly more traditionally Indigenous in their inspiration, giving strong images to pair with the story. I will say it would’ve been a nice addition to see some animal friends interact with Little Bird also, but even so the book is still very sweet.
Lucky and Spike is probably the most “western” looking children’s book of the three, and I would say that this is because of the illustrations. MacDonald uses more watercolours, which you would see in more traditionally western children’s books. Lucky and Spike is about two spinifex hopping mice going out for a night time adventure for food. Amongst their journey they dodge several predators: cats, dogs and owls; all animals taking an interest in the mice before being distracted by more appealing prey. This book has a lot of elements for a successful children’s book: cute little protagonists, adventure, high stakes and so forth. I can see this book being read in a lot of libraries and kids groups.
All three of these books are incredibly sweet and endearing; they all have differing qualities that make them great children’s books. I can see kids enjoying any of these books and I’m excited to share them with my nieces and nephews.