Rau has traveled through the Outback, stayed at cattle and sheep stations and at Aboriginal settlements, visited a camel...

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RED EARTH, BLUE SKY: The Australian Outback

Rau has traveled through the Outback, stayed at cattle and sheep stations and at Aboriginal settlements, visited a camel farm and the Coober Peddy opal mines, and altogether amassed a great deal of first-hand information about Outback life--especially for the children. Both white youngsters and Aboriginal kids, she makes plain, find boarding school a trial after the freedom of the School-of-the-Air courses (for the former) and local primary-school classrooms (for the latter); and we encounter both whites and Aboriginal children who drop out. Similarly, there are white as well as Aboriginal drifters. That sense of a common response to the remoteness and harshness and friendly informality sets her book apart from those that tend to focus either on station or Aboriginal life; but unfortunately it is also repetitive and somewhat uncertainly organized--with quite small print and small, blurry photos. But the child who once gets into it will meet individuals, learn about camel-breeding as well as cattle-herding, descend into Coober Peddy's underground homes, share in the annual get-togethers of the School-of-the-Air children, and ponder, with Rau, the future of that ""great silent platter of land."" It's very well done; one can only regret that it isn't better presented.

Pub Date: April 1, 1981

ISBN: 0595185797

Page Count: -

Publisher: T. Y. Crowell

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1981