DREAMTIME: Aboriginal Stories by Oodgeroo
Kirkus Star

DREAMTIME: Aboriginal Stories

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Published in 1993 in Australia as Stradbroke Dreamtime, these 27 stories by an honored Aboriginal writer are divided into ""Stories from Stradbroke,"" memoirs of the author's childhood in the 1920s and '30s on Stradbroke Island off the Queensland coast, and ""Stories from the Old and New Dreamtime,"" Aborigine myths and new stories told in traditional styles (it is not always possible to tell which are which). The ""Stories from Stradbroke"" are most memorable: the taboo shooting of a kookaburra, how a dog caught a shark, left-handed Oodgeroo's miseries in school, the immense pet carpet snake that preyed on Mother's chickens and was even found once in the baby's crib. Aborigine beliefs and values (respect for the earth and its creatures, collective responsibility for the individual) are apparent in the stories, as are discrimination against Aborigines and a strongly male-dominated social order. Half of the ""Dreamtime"" stories are pourquois tales, most of them relating to trees and other plants. There are also creation myths and a lyrical account of how Oodgeroo reclaimed her tribal heritage by writing its stories. Bancroft is an Aboriginal painter and textile designer who combines the conventions of traditional Aboriginal art (humans and animals shown as outlined silhouettes, backgrounds filled with patterns of lines, circles, or dots) with a lushly contemporary palette (aqua, lime, coral, lavender, and peach). Verbally and visually, a rich experience.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1994
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Lothrop