Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: Marngrook the long-ago story of Aussie Rules

By Titta Secombe / Illustrated by Grace Fielding
Magabala Books  RRP $12.95 ISBN: 978-1-921248-44-3

I pretty much know nothing about the AFL – other than Adam Goodes and Michael O’Loughlin are top blokes, which most people already know. But this morning I read Marngrook: a long ago story of Aussie Rules Football, and was surprised to learn that the game of ‘football’ as it is known today, was being played 150 years ago by Aboriginal people in northwest Victoria.

Titta Secombe, a descendant of the Djab-Wurrung and Jardwadjali clans of Gariwerd (whitefellas call it the Grampians), grew up listening to stories from her Elders about marngrook (football). Through her interpretation and sharing of the stories she heard, we learn in this vibrantly illustrated work, exactly how the first football was made: the banya (ringtail possum) skin was stuffed with emu feathers, shaped into an egg and laced up with tendon from a kangaroo tail! Talk about innovation!

Between the history lesson, artwork by multi awarding-winning Grace Fielding (Bilby and the Bushfire and Who’s thatJumbun in the log?  among her titles), Jardwadjali language words used throughout, and the greater moral message often found in Aboriginal-authored kids books, Marngrook is not only fantastic for use in the classroom, but will be appreciated by all young readers and sports lovers alike.

Small warning: this might not be the best book for vegetarians, but we’re talking about real bushtucker, and this is how people survived on the land!

Grab your copy direct from Magabala Books  or from Booktopia, and be sure and ask your school and local library to order it in as well.

Also, love to hear what you think of the work…

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