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Why I Love Australia will resonate with all Australians. We do love our country. We value it, we respect it, and we are incredibly grateful for it. In this book, Bronwyn Bancroft puts Australia on the largest of pedestals, where it rightly deserves to be.
Bronwyn beautifully describes, in both words and images, the various natural and human landscapes of Australia. She also captures the spirit of the Australian community too, in phrases such as “suburban homes that chatter” and “bush cricket played on ant’s nest pitches with friends and family anytime, any town.”
Bronwyn has chosen her words carefully and illustrates them accordingly, often giving the illustrations double meanings. For example, to illustrate the text, “Boab tree families, bountiful in shape, standing on the plains” Bronwyn has illustrated a family of five boab trees, but within each tree she has drawn a family of three humans. There are human figures depicted in most of the illustrations, depicting the fierce connection indigenous Australians have with the land.
Bronwyn Bancroft’s artwork is becoming quite iconic. You may have previously seen her work in Possum and Wattle, W is for Wombat and Sam’s Bush Journey. Her illustrations are vibrant, bold, striking, detailed and rich in pattern.
Why I Love Australia is incredibly symbolic. On each page, Bronwyn has drawn an image which represents a traditional Australian Aboriginal smoking ceremony. A smoking ceremony is one way that Aboriginal people show respect for the language and country of one another’s tribe. It is believed that smoking ceremonies clear away negative energy. This image represents the host of each landscape. At the end of the book Bronwyn explains that “he wishes you well as you visit his country and make acknowledgements to the ancestors and Elders past and present of each place.”
It’s incredibly difficult to choose a favourite page in this book but three highlights include Bronwyn’s aerial view of the suburban landscape which she describes as a “patchwork of rooftops”; the ocean waves which also resemble shells; and the city night lights which form a “jewelled necklace”.
A fascinating, heart-felt book for all Australians.
Author and Illustrator: Bronwyn Bancroft
Publisher: Little Hare Books (Hardie Grant Egmont), May 2010
Suitable for: ages 2+
RRP: $24.95 (aud)