Annaliese Porter is one of Australia s youngest published writers, being just eleven years old when The Outback was published. She has been writing ever since she can remember and has received numerous awards for academic excellence and creative writing in her home state of New South Wales. Bronwyn Bancroft is an award-winning illustrator who has illustrated numerous Australian children s titles."
Forceful artwork by an established illustrator makes this child-authored text leap into life. The words, written by an Indigenous eight-year-old, form a hymn of praise to the vast interior of Australia. 'Yes, there's more to the outback than vast plains and parched earth' claims Porter, and she catalogues some of its inhabitants, 'Dreamtimers', Aboriginal people, animals and plants. The text is not (as claimed in the blurb) a bush ballad, but a piece of lyrical writing with some fine moments ('they have felt the softness of country') but also the forced rhymes and imperfect scansion of an authentically young voice. Bancroft's illustrations display her characteristic skill in combining elements from Indigenous and whitefella art. There are blocks of repetitive patterning: for example, the spread with 'scaly snakes and lizards ... and flocks of cockatoos' shows each creature enclosed in a circle within an earthscape of vivid ochres, while the trees above appear side-view against a bright blue sky. The Uluru spread alone will ensure sales to tourists; and all schools should support this youthfully exuberant book. Robin Morrow is a children's literature consultant with a wealth of bookselling experience C. 2005 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors