Willy-Willy Wagtail. Tales from the Bush Mob by Helen Milroy

A long time ago, everybody spoke different languages. The birds, the animals, even the wind and the earth, they all spoke in different ways.

Meet Willy Wagtail and the Bush Mob, a group of diverse Australian animals from the bush who cannot speak to each other due to speaking different languages.

Soon we discover through this dreamtime story told by Helen Milroy from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region in Western Australia, that little Willy Wagtail is the one who brings all of the different animals together.

The little Willy Wagtail bird is a favourite of mine to watch and reading this story gave us a lot more insight into this little bird. It flits about, jumps up and down and constantly wiggles its tail .

Willy-Willy Wagtail is a wonderful dreamtime story about friendship, helping those in need and getting along with others despite our differences.

Told through three stories and then an epilogue we learn why crows throw stones, the role the wind plays in the natural world and how animals, despite their differences have learnt to get along.

This book can be read as a whole or read as three stories. The illustrations highlight the colours of the Australian bush and the patterns of indigenous art are scattered in the background. Children will love the illustrations of the animals as they run through the outback or help each other out with a piggy back!

Willy-Willy Wagtail is a book to share with children as another type of dreamtime story. It allows for more focus on a particular animal rather than just one stand alone story. Children can then explore other animals and find out the different stories that are associated with them.

We are looking forward to seeing more of these books from the series come out in the future.

Find here along with teacher notes: https://www.magabala.com/products/willy-willy-wagtail

What else can you do?


Re create this story through an online video creator. Look at Dust Echoes to get ideas on how your story could look.

Explore another bird or animal and find out if any others have stories that link them with natural phenomena.

Link to other dreamtime stories from the Pilbara and compare them to stories from your area.


Research more about Willy Wagtails, where they live and their life cycle.



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