I have admired Mem Fox’s work for many years. Amongst my favourites is Boo to a Goose, Koala Lou, Possum Magic, Time for Bed and The Green Sheep. So it is with delight that I review Mem’s new book I’m Australian Too.
I’m Australian Too by Mem Fox
Illustrated by Ronojoy Ghosh
Published by Scholastic Australia
Date: 1 March 2017
In writing this book, Mem Fox called her book a “Rhythmic, loving, friendly Australian book, about all the people who have come here to make Australia the lovely place it is.” I believe Mem has achieved this as she has captured the Australian spirit and more.
The book begins…
I’m Australian! How about you? I’m Australian too! My Mum was born in Sydney, my dad in Ballarat, and I was born in Melbourne – how Australian is that! How about you?
Not only are these first words engaging; the dark, star filled Australian sky and the slither of the moon in the form of illustration is delightful to the eye and is the beginning of a special read.
Mem shares many different Australian cultures such as the indigenous Australians, Irish, Vietnamese, Greeks, Somalian’s and there is also a shout out to refugees.
The illustrations by Ronojoy Ghosh are the perfect accompaniment to Mem’s words. The variety of colour, and how Australia has been captured through the blazing Darwin Sun, the iconic trams in Melbourne and tranquility of the Hobart water front and hills adds a special quality to the book. As I turned each crisp page, I wanted to linger over each little paragraph and each drawing.
The illustrations of hay bails in the fields, the traditional Italian cuisine, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the outback will be Familiar to children across Australia. This familiarity with the illustrations is likely to encourage further literacy development through discussion between the reader and the child.
If reading this book in a group I would recommend this for ages 4 years and above, however, one on one I would recommend it for any age.
Overall, this book makes me proud to be Australian. Mem has captured the heart of Australia, the culture that makes Australia what it is and introduces children that despite our differences we are all Australian.
Together now, we live in peace, beneath the Southern Star.