Saturday, February 18, 2012
Meme McDonald and Boori Monty Pryor
Allen & Unwin 2002 62pp $14.95
I was the kid in primary school who always shot their hand up in the air to answer the question – whether I knew it or not, I’d always give it a go. I don’t know that I ever outright lied about anything, although I did say once that my father could yodel. I thought he could, after all he was Austrian and he made a funny sound that wasn’t a whistle or a song. Turns out that that it wasn’t a yodel, just an attempted yodel. And he refused to demonstrate the weird sound during education week when my teacher asked him to go up and perform.
In Flytrap young Nancy tells a little lie-cum-wish about having her own Venus Flytrap plant, and when she's asked to take it into school, the real stories start to evolve. Seeking her mother's assistance reminded me of myself, and of my own mother who would help me out of sticky situation like as a child. Although Nancy's mum finds it difficult to pull herself away from the computer, she does help to devises some serious silly stories to explain the loss of a non-existent plant – because obviously, Nancy can’t present the plant to her teacher Ms Susan and the class, and she needs to save face.
Nancy’s step-dad Gee (otherwise know as Garth) adds a twist to the story as he brings home some strange critters at times like echidnas, which leads to Nancy – and the reader – learning how the echidna (binggaldamba) got his quills and how to make necklaces from them. There’s also a reminder that sheep are an introduced species to Australia while binggaldamba have been roaming the land for thousands of years.
Interestingly, the key message here isn’t about telling the truth, which is of course alluded to, but the main theme is sharing.
Although this book is for kids 6-11 years of age, I have to say, I really enjoyed it too because Nancy of the ‘tall tales’ is one very engaging storyteller!