Shapes of Australia: Book Review

Shapes of Australia Book ReviewShapes entwined in art, become the art, and as one show a story about the shapes of Australia. 

Title: Shapes of Australia
Author: Bronwyn Bancroft
Illustrator: Bronwyn Brancroft
ISBN: 9781760129286       Language: English

Classification: Fiction
Themes: poetry, art, shapes

What’s it about?
This book combines indigenous dot painting and 2D shapes. The writing is almost more poetry and you get just one sentence per double page spread. The artwork itself covers over the double page as well.

Embrace
It’s a short read and the paintings complement the text. The paintings are varied in colour combinations that attempt to connect with the description – such as greens for the bush.

Beware
Younger audiences may have trouble understanding some words/meanings. It’s a bit…empty.

Shapes of Australia BUY LinkMy Thoughts
This book is listed in the Notables List for Book Week 2018 and nominated in the Book of the Year: Early Childhood category. First off we definitely need more books by indigenous authors and I’ve read many Bronwyn Bancroft books and mostly enjoyed them. This book however what concerns me is that this is another “dot painting” book. For me at least the dot painting technique perpetuates the notion that the only type of art that indigenous Australians create is…dot art. Search many teacher resources website and that is all you will find lessons on – particularly from non-Australian teachers – because it’s simply what they hear and see. Of course as I have posted before indigenous techniques, styles, and subsequent artworks vary greatly between communities but never seem to get the same attention.

On the surface this is a book with pretty illustrations and pretty text (I can hear my grade 4 teacher cringing as I write that!) but I didn’t feel connected to this book. The book has a sentences that points at a specific shape – rectangle, circle, etc. – and entwines that into a picture – skyscrapers, honeycomb, etc.  I guess I felt flat after reading it – the kind of feeling where you go “Okay, is that it?”. I like the idea behind the book but to me there is just no depth here – there’s not something as a teacher I can grab hold of and have a lesson that will inspire or teach. It is just a pretty book.

Bronwyn Bancroft Website Link

What do you think?