Bird characters are used to address the issue of teasing and bullying throughout this morality tale in picture book form. It is inspired by the wisdom of Indigenous Elders and is set in the “Way back before Once-upon-a-time”. Guluu the magpie was angry at the butcher birds who harassed him. The Elders advised him to emulate the calm of the water but the tale is realistic because at first Guluu could not follow their guidance and lost his temper. He later remembered their encouragement and sang to remain unruffled. He showed the community that they could be strong and happy and even develop a love of singing.
The vibrant full-page illustrations depict Guluu in various moods and postures. Fine details and patterns as well as circular dot paintings enhance every page. Gamilaraay language is used to name the birds. Gregg Dreise’s ancestors are the Kamilaroi and Yuwalayaay people of south-west Queensland and north-west NSW.
Gregg Dreise has created a series of picture books described as ‘morality tales inspired by wise sayings and the knowledge of Aboriginal Elders’. These titles include: ‘Silly Birds’; ‘Kookoo Koobaburra’; ‘Mad Magpie’; and ‘Cunning Crow’.