‘The Binna Binna Man’ continues the story of the young boy originally encountered in ‘My Girragundji’, but can also be read as a standalone title. The story is narrated from the point-of-view of a boy who has just entered adolescence, the author perfectly capturing his candid, lively voice as he shares his story of travelling up to Yarrie with his family to farewell his cousin Sister Girl, who has died.
The narrator explains that he is now much braver, thanks to the help of his girragundgi (frog) sent to protect him when he needed it the most. He still hears the voice of his girragundgi inside him, urging him to be strong. However, it is difficult not to feel afraid of the Binna Binna Man, a terrifying hairyman who can be found up in Yarrie, where the boy and his family are headed. The Binna Binna Man can be healing, but can also turn on you if you poke fun of him. Binna Binna Man’s presence lingers darkly throughout the narrative - but when he does reveal himself, the outcome may just be completely unexpected.
The black and white photographs add much richness and meaning to this beautifully told story of grief, family, healing, and learning to never forget where you come from. The narrator at times struggles with his sense of identity, especially when he observes some of his peers failing to believe in ‘the old ways’. He will need to draw on all his inner strength to ensure he stays connected to his cultural heritage.
Despite the more sombre tone of this story, there are still moments of lightness and humour, gently highlighting that there will again be light in the dark.
‘The Binna Binna Man’ is a companion book to ‘My Girragundji’.
Boori Monty Prior's mother's people are Knuggandji and his father is from the Birra-gubba Nation.