Take a close look at this cover. The subtitle says Favourite Characters from Australian Picture Books. Can you see Max (Bob Graham), The Muddle Headed Wombat (Ruth Park and Noela Young), and The Green Sheep (Mem Fox and Judy Horacek)? You really need to see this book to appreciate the beautiful production and the gold front cover. This photo does not do it justice.
This is a book for all Australian children's literature fans. It begins with the period 1910-1930 and in this section you will find well known characters such as Snugglepot and Cuddlepie; Blinky Bill and The Magic Pudding. Many of my own favourite characters are included - Wombat Divine; Drac and the Gremlin; Koala Lou; John Brown (John Brown, Rose and the midnight cat), Biff and Buff (The Pocket dogs); Dougal the Garbage dump Bear; Edward the Emu; and Dingo (Wombat Stew). Here is my favourite page:
Image source Booktopia: https://tinyurl.com/y529rwdd
Image source MargaretRKett: https://margaretrkett.wordpress.com/tag/quippy/
I had also never heard of Ambrose Kangaroo by Elizabeth MacIntyre (1941).
Each page is written by the book character. There is a brief plot outline, full page illustration, story quote and information under a set of headings:
- Bought to you by (author and illustrator)
- Debut (Publisher and year)
- Encores (other formats of the book)
- Stage and Screen
- International appearances
It is easy to see the enormous amount of research that has gone into this book.
Here are just a few of the very interesting things I discovered:
- The Terrible Plop (Ursula Dubosarsky) was made into a play and even performed in New York City.
- Where is the Green Sheep (Mem Fox) can be read by children in Russia, Vietnam, China, South Korea and Spain
- The Sydney Symphony Orchestra performed a musical version of Fox (Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks) in 2000
- There is a statue of Grandma Poss (Possum Magic Mem Fox and Julie Vivas) at the State Library of Victoria. They also have a statue of Bunyip (The Bunyip of Berkeley's Creek Jenny Wagner and Ron Brooks).
- Princess Mary of Denmark was given a copy of There's a Hippopotamus on our Roof eating Cake by the Australian government
From August, 2019 tile early February 2020 the National Library of Australia in Canberra will host an exhibition entitled Story Time: Australian Children's Literature. This is the companion book to the exhibition. Read this interview with Dr Belle Alderman by Kids Book Review where she talks about the treasures held in our National Centre for Australian Children' Literature.
My next step will be to use the index to make a list of Australian classic picture books that I must share with you on this blog. Top of my list is John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat.