When a hungry crow can’t find any food, he has to be clever.
Clever Crow – Wak Liya-Djambatj. Written by Nina Lawrence and illustrated by Bronwyn Bancroft is a traditional Australian indigenous story about crows and how clever they are. But what makes this book even better than just being a story, is it is a story told in two languages – English and the Djambarrpuynu, a Yolnu language from the north east of Arnhem Land.
As you turn each page you can read the story in either English or Djambarrpuynu and ponder on the patterned images that fall across the pages.
For those who cannot speak Djambarrpuynu an orthographic guide has been placed at the back alongside a glossary.
Clever Crow teaches the reader about persistence and patience. It shows us that even if we don’t achieve something that we want so much, with time we may just gain it.
Children are introduced to difference Australian animals, traditional indigenous cooking activities and the patterns of indigenous art.
The colours of the illustrations jump off each page, lighting up the story from the bright sands of the beach to the darker shades of the bush. The patterns and lines within each block are something to look at in detail to understand the texture of the trees or the contours of the land.
Clever Crow is a book that all children across Australia should be reading and it would be wonderful to see more books like this written so we can share the Indigenous languages of Australia and keep them alive for many more generations to come.
What can you do with this book?
Explore the artwork and the patterns within each illustration. Compare the illustrations to that of images from Arnhem land – can you see the patterns in the landscapes?
Find another indigenous story from this part of Australia.
Find an indigenous story from where you live in Australia.
Think about how you have been a clever crow in one aspect of your life OR how you can be.