Review of ‘This is Banjo Paterson’
Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson loved to write poetry. He loved hunting and fishing and horses, too, especially a horse named Banjo. In this exceptional picture book, young readers can celebrate the life of a great poet, journalist, bushman and world traveller.
Join Banjo, his family, dog and neighbourhood friends, as they recount the life of Banjo Paterson with an afternoon of backyard playtime that truly typifies childhood.
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Author Tania McCartney and illustrator Christina Booth have begun what I very much hope will be a collectable series, with ‘This is Captain Cook’ and now ‘This is Banjo Paterson’. Both books are aimed at an early childhood audience, but of course picture book loving adults will adore them just as much – my 88 year old grandmother currently has them at her house to show to all her neighbours!
McCartney’s text in ‘This is Banjo Paterson’ is set in the late 1800’s and outlines some of Paterson’s achievements and highlights in his life. McCartney is skilled in breaking down dense factual content and appropriately presenting it to an appreciative early childhood audience. As in many of her books, the text of ‘This is Banjo Paterson’ seems beautifully simple but when you examine more closely, there is rich content and it is jam packed information just waiting to be teased out by teachers and parents. As in all National Library of Australia (NLA) Publications, the back of this book contains information and historical photographs from the NLA collection. NLA Publishing blows me away with the titles they select and publish each year. Their collection of children’s and YA titles bring to life the NLA collection and share this collection with an incredibly wide audience. NLA books are favourites in school libraries, but are just as informative and entertaining for home collections and I often find that their publications can spark a whole new area of reading interest.
In typical Tania McCartney style, there is a huge amount of support material to go along with ‘This is Banjo Paterson’, and her blog is a treasure trove of facts about Banjo Paterson, a look at the visual storyline of the book and so much more. There are also in-depth Teachers’ Notes here which have strong links to the Australian Curriculum.
Christina Booth has followed up her exquisite work in ‘This is Captain Cook’ in this new title and the gorgeous watercolour images ensure that both these titles are testament to her talent as an illustrator. As is explained further here, the book characters are all played by children and set in a modern context, ensuring the story is utterly accessible to young readers.
‘This is Banjo Paterson’ is perfectly timed in it’s release month of February, as Orange and its surrounding region celebrate the Banjo Paterson Australian Poetry Festival in February every year. Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson was born at ‘Narrambla’ Orange on 17 February 1864. This festival highlights not only Banjo Paterson but is an opportunity to celebrate all Australian Poetry and Poets in general and you can find out more here. The flyer for the festival features images by Australian illustrator Freya Blackwood.