Charlie Burr lives in a small town in Western Australia with Dad, Mum and two older sisters Tia and Sharni. Together with his best mate Johnno, he is constantly on the lookout for opportunities to make money and perplexed when things go wrong. Gross-out humour is a feature of the books – there’s plenty of poo and spew. Unique features of life in a regional community are incorporated – when people are ill or injured, they go to a Nursing Post, and visitors to the town are ‘blow-ins from Perth’.
In this book : Mum’s taking advantage of Charlie’s dad being away prospecting and Bring Out Your Rubbish Week in their community to clean out the shed so there will be room for her craft and clothes. Charlie knows Dad’s stuff is precious to him but he and his mate Johnno help her reluctantly, before Mum finds out her cat Fluffy has gone missing. Charlie hopes to replace the tools by trawling the rubbish other people throw out and maybe find Fluffy – before Grandpa’s missing python does! And Cyclone Betty is just off the coast.
Peter Sheehan’s covers picture Charlie wearing a singlet with an Aboriginal flag design. Internal illustrations as chapter headings evoke a school exercise book, and the design of animal paw prints to break up the text within chapters will help to scaffold readers. The seven chapters of each book are named for the days of the week, setting the pace of the novel and assuring the newly confident reader of a satisfying ending.
Helen Joanne Adam Lecturer in Literacy Education and Children’s Literature has defined five categories of cultural representation in books for children. Although her research focus is primarily picture books, her definition of ‘culturally authentic’ applies to this series: ‘a main character from a minority background and are usually written by an author from the background represented.’ Badimaya Yamatji/African American academic Kirsten Hausia talks about the value of books like this as featuring everyday – not deficit-based - brown characters.
About the Authors: Sally Morgan and Ambelin, Blaze and Ezekiel Kwaymullina are a family of writers who write as a group and individually. They belong to the Palyku people, from the Pilbara Region of Western Australia. They love writing, reading books, listening to stories and music, walking their dogs, painting and drawing, and having a good laugh. (Especially at each other!)
Illustrator Peter Sheehan does not identify as an Aboriginal person.
Series: Charlie Burr no 2