Monday, June 23, 2008

Australian Classics part 2.

These are all books I loved. Mary Grant Bruce wrote a whole series of *Billabong books* set, for the most part, on a large Victorian cattle station. There is a slight deviation to cover events in WWI. I love these books particularly because the characters are very well drawn & there is a great sense of humour & fun throughout the series. Norah's wedding morning is one of the most hysterical things I have ever read, making me laugh till I weep each time. Despite their age they are free of sentementality or overt moralising. There is just a quiet expectation that men & women worth their salt will behave as they should. If you can, read these. They are truely wonderful.

Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner suffers from all the flaws of the age: it is sentimental, moralising, romantic but the characters are so strong I have always been able to forgive it its many flaws & *blush* I like a good weepy now & then. It is also hysterically funny in places. Homeschoolers will be able to relate to the images of these home tutored children squabbling over the inkpot. I have always been so glad ball point pens got invented before my kids went to school.
Hesba Brinsmead's Pastures of the Blue Crane is another interesting book. While the Billabong books are located in what many people see as *typical* Australian bushland, Pastures is set up round northern N.S.W, where the tropical rainforest gives a very different cast to the landscape. This is the only children's book I am aware of that looks at what happened to Australia's *Blackbirds* ~ the Tongans, Polyenesians, etc who were brought in to work the cane fields. In a quiet way it looks at the theme of racism. BTW, blue cranes are actually a heron; we get them in the pastures round here too & to see one standing in the long grass swirled about with mist always puts me in mind of this book.
Brinsmead also wrote Longtime Passing, which I have never liked so well, but for those who are studying American Pioneers this would offer an interesting compare & contrast study, as would Elizabeth Wilton's A Ridiculous Idea, which I like very much, just couldn't get a cover picture for.
I Can Jump Puddles ~ Allan Marshall, documents Alan's struggle with overcoming polio as a child. This used to be a set text for grade 8 in N.S.W
Sun on the Stubble ~ Colin Thiele. Colin is a prolific Australian children's author & wrote so many good books on different topics I couln't choose. This is a biographical note about his early life, but , Blue Fin, tuna fishing the Straight (Bass straight where the *roaring 40s* come straightoff the pole), or Storm Boy, which became a film, are all worth looking at. His contemporary, Ivan Southall (Ash Road,children caught in a bushfire), is also very worthwhile.

These are books that just happen to be set in Australia but reflect something of the culture & times in which they are set without forsaking a good story & are all still available on~line.

3 comments:

Persuaded said...

oh ganeida... what a feast! i especially appreciate the ones you suggested as a counter balance to those studying american pioneers--since that's what we'll be doing next year:)

you are a gem((hugs))

Ganeida said...

I thought of you especially & depending on *when* you are studying the Billabong books would work that way also (they begin about 18 years prior to WWI & continue on through that conflict into the early years of the depression.) Ethel Turner is a little earlier. Lots of insights into how a genteelwoman's house was run way back then. You are such a sweetie I think you & Millen will love Snugglepot & Cuddlepie. I just don't go for *nice* ~ & my sense of humour is...*unusual*

MamaOlive said...

Thank you for the suggestions. We are on our second M-M-M now. :-) I will look into some of these.