MULGA BILL'S BICYCLE by A.B. Paterson

MULGA BILL'S BICYCLE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Like Paterson, who wrote Waltzing Matilda, Kilmeny and Deborah Niland are from Australia; their depiction of a mustachioed outback blusterer in striped socks and knickers suits the broadly humorous mood of the rhyme, but both words and pictures force the hilarity to a point that leaves us cold. When Mulga Bill turns away his good old horse for a newfangled bicycle which he only pretends he can ride, you expect the machine to get out of control, and toward the end of his runaway ride ""as Mulga Bill let out one last despairing shriek,"" it's no surprise at all to turn the page and find him landing up in Dead Man's Creek. This is all accompanied by close up grimaces and flyaway coattails that might trigger a cooperative audience on the watch for laugh cues, but the Nilands' spiffy slapstick doesn't come any closer to Desmond Digby's illumination of Waltzing Matilda (KR, 1972) than Mulga Bill does to that jolly swagman.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1975
Publisher: Parents' Magazine Press