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Apr 24

Review: Aussie Gems Series

Review: Aussie Gems SeriesCindy-Ella by Tom Champion, Various
Series: Aussie Gems
Published by Scholastic Australia on 2008
Genres: fiction, picture book
Pages: 23
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Goodreads

A hard-working sheila, whingeing stepsisters, a fairy godnanna and the best sheep-shearer in Gundaroo-it's the Aussie Cinderella! Cindy-Ella's stepsisters Rachelle and Sheryle keep her busy feeding the budgies, cleaning the dunny and cooking meat pies, but she dreams of romance with Steve, the best sheep-shearer in Gundaroo. She finally gets her chance when her fairy godnanna helps her get ready for the Gundaroo Singles Mingle Ball.

The Aussie Gems series features amusing Australian adaptations of well-known nursery rhymes and fairy tales and picture book versions of popular Australia folksongs.

Nursery Rhyme Titles

  • Goldilocks and the Three Koalas (Words: Kel Richards, Pictures: Claire Richards)
  • Cindy-Ella (Words: Tom Champion, Pictures: Glen Singleton)
  • The Three Little Bush Pigs (Words and Pictures: Paul Dallimore)

Folksong Titles

  • Big, Bad Bushranger (Words: Bob Brown, Pictures: Ben Wood)
  • Give me a Home Among the GumTrees (Words: Bob Brown & Wally Johnson, Pictures: Ben Wood)
  • Click Go the Shears (Pictures: Charlotte Lance)
  • Redback on the Toilet Seat (Words: Slim Newton, Pictures: Craig Smith)

Two further titles will be released in June 2009:

  • There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Mozzie (Words: P Crumble, Pictures: Louis Shea)
  • The Lamington Man (Words: Kel Richards, Pictures: Glen Singleton)

Oozing Aussie bush charm from every page, these stories are packed to the rafters with clichés of life in the Australian bush, Aussie alternatives to common words and an overabundance of koalas, wombats, kangaroos, gum trees and sheep.

This Cindy-Ella summary from the publisher offers a sample of the über-Aussie style:

Cindy-Ella’s stepsisters Rachelle and Sheryle keep her busy feeding the budgies, cleaning the dunny and cooking meat pies, but she dreams of romance with Steve, the best sheep-shearer in Gundaroo. She finally gets her chance when her fairy godnanna helps her get ready for the Gundaroo Singles Mingle Ball.

Redback on the Toilet Seat by Slim Newton

I can’t resist The Redback on the Toilet Seat, as my grandmother used to terrify us by humming this song whenever we went out to her bathroom, which was in a room tacked on to the back of the house. I’m curious to see which animals are included in the The Old Lady who Swallowed a Mozzie version, although I’m guessing that there will be a black snake, goanna, dingo and kookaburra in there somewhere. As for The Three Little Bush Pigs title, I’m just not sure that’s quite what I would have chosen to call it.

Much in the same way that the Aussie-fied Christmas stories the Fair Dinkum Aussie Christmas, Aussie Night Before Christmas and Aussie Jingle Bells and the recently released Fair Dinkum Aussie Easter are so Australian that you can almost smell the gum leaves, Aussie Gems titles focus on the images of the Australian bush that rightly or wrongly seem to represent Australia to the world.

I will probably pick up some copies of some of these titles to send to children of friends and family living overseas.

PS Any non-Australian’s need a translation of the Cindy-Ella summary?

Recommended for readers aged 3 – 5 years.

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