The Cuckoo

The Cuckoo

Gary Crew and illustrated by Naomi Turvey

The Cuckoo is a rather odd book; it’s a picture book but the language is not chosen for pre-school children. In some ways it is a like a spiritual / fairy story / tale of sacrifice for adults.

Gary Crew’s words are beautiful:

‘Martin’s father was a huge man and his brothers tall as forest gums; their faces handsome as granite sculptures, their muscled limbs a wonder to behold.’ and

‘Because he was so frail of limb, Martin felt closest to the smaller animals: the timid field mice, the garnet-eyed lizards, the cinnamon breasted finches, but most of all he loved the cuckoo that sat alone, day by day, piping its mournful song.’

I liked Naomi Turvey’s use of colour – grey, white, black with touches of light blue which add to the sombreness of the scenes. The pictures are interesting although eerie; some of the images are cruel The Cuckoo is definitely not a book for small children.

Gary Crew has won the Australian Children’s Book of the Year four times and is Associate Professor, Creative Writing at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Naomi Turvey has a Diploma of Illustration from the Chisholm Institute.

Katy Gerner


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