Title: Wilam
Created by Aunty Joy Murphy and Andrew Kelly, with illustrations by Lisa Kennedy
Published by Black Dog Books, an imprint of Walker Books
RRP: $24.99

What an incredibly beautiful picture book this is. I suggest, for first time readers, you settle somewhere comfortable and give yourself the time this book deserves. You will not be disappointed.

Brightly illustrated endpapers welcome the reader into the narrative of the Birrarung, or Yarra river. One is then transported along the path of the river, learning about the huge variety of animals, bird and plant life that rely on the river for survival. People can be seen going about their daily lives, also dependent on this important river. The illustrations are rich in colour and detail, with a depth to them that holds the eye. Woiwurrung language is used effectively in conjunction with English in the verbal text. This almost mirrors the combination of the built environment with the natural in the visual text. Both texts are enriching and wonderful and combine to create a picture book that demands close attention and many re-readings. There is a glossary at the back of the book that translates the Woiwurrung language into English, although it is stated that direct translation to English is not possible. I would suggest that readers not look to this glossary but savour the Woiwurrung language used. The glossary is certainly not required for understanding.

This book will be invaluable in any classroom and public library. It will make an amazing gift for friends and family in Australia and abroad.

Detailed teaching notes are available at this link.

Many thanks to Walker Books for supplying this book for review.