When I was teaching in Australian schools all those years ago Possum Magic was a classic, I’m sure it still is. I owned a Big Book version which I kept in the class room to read to the class. Today B6 and I read the big copy and enjoyed it very much. He knows many Australian animals but probably not as many as the girls did at his age. I think it made it a little more fun to read as he recognised some and puzzled over others.
Possum Magic is about Grandma Poss and Hush, her little grand-daughter. Grandma Poss has some basic magic skills, enough to make Hush invisible but not enough to change her back when the novelty wears off. She has a hunch that the magical remedy involves food.
In order to become visible Grandma and Hush set off around Australia in search of quintessential Aussie cuisine. B6 knew many of the foods mentioned (because we make them) but not all. He had never heard of a Mintie and wasn’t clear on what a mornay was either. Tomorrow we are going to make one of the foods which restored some of Hush’s visibility so I’ll let you know how that goes.
Julie Vivas’ watercolour pictures are beautiful. The rainbow serpent in particular caught our eyes, especially in the big book version as it takes up the whole double page spread. B6 recognised the famous landmarks dotted through the pages and was entertained by the whole book. It hasn’t changed his opinion of Vegemite though, it must be the Canadian coming out in him.
I was delighted to read that B6.5 is learning something of his Australian heritage. There are so many similarities between the Canadian and Australian cultures that I have enjoyed on my visits, though there are vast differences in geography and ecology. Perhaps there is potential for some future learning for B6 as well as his two Australian born sisters in exploring the common threads and the distinctives.
I am dismayed to read that he continues his dislike of Vegemite, Australia’s gift to the world. B6 should know that his grandfather, in the 1950’s, as an employee of Kraft, made a small contribution to making Vegemite the Australian icon it is today.
Pingback: Lamingtons « Sentient
This sounds curiously unique. I’m interested. Thanks for the review!
Pingback: Saturday Review of Books: May 19, 2007 at Semicolon