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The newborn lambs are going missing and Matthew thinks the bunyip that lives in a cave under the water in their billabong is taking them. His grandfather told him about it. His mum, dad and big brother say bunyips don't exist, but Matthew is not so sure. He and his grandfather camp out one night to watch the sheep. Matthew sees a dark shape dive into the waterhole. Now he is sure it is the bunyip. His big brother brings home his scuba gear to find out once and for all what Matthew saw diving into the billabong. Will they find the bunyip or will it find them? Bunyips are popular subjects with a lot of readers and The Bunyip in the Billabong makes use of many icons of the Australian bush from billabongs to dingoes to sheep. Granddad is a quintessential teller of bush tales. Elaine Ouston tells a good story. The pace moves along smoothly, with likable characters and a warm familycentred tone. The dialogue is natural and the sheep station setting well realised. I liked the way the mystery was resolved, with no fuzzy question marks over the ending. This short but fully-formed chapter book is ideal for reading aloud or for independent reading. Since the protagonist, Matthew, is eleven, it would also work for less able or less engaged older readers. - Sally Olgers
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