The opening double page spread of this bilingual English and Warlpiri language book for very young children announces members of the family: father, mother, sister, brother and ‘the little baby me.’ Opposite is a mirror intended to invite the viewer to imagine the baby peering intently as the book opens. The captivating illustrations are a mixture of sophisticated, symbolic artworks on the left which require adult interpretation and children’s artwork on the right featuring family activities, such as hunting and gathering food, cooking bush food and telling stories around the fire. A final set of illustrations features common bush animals such as the snake, bird, emu and bee. The children’s illustrations invite questions, such as, ‘What is smoking the baby about?’ and ‘What bush tucker is the family collecting?’ The more symbolic illustrations invite discussions of how traditions are revealed in the artworks.
The artwork and accompanying song were created as part of the Families as First Teachers Program (FaFT) 2012. The project involved the women from Yuendumu, an Aboriginal community located on the edge of the Tanami Desert approximately 350 kilometres north west of Alice Springs. The book was funded and developed by FaFT in partnership with the Northern Territory Library and produced with the assistance of Yuendumu FaFT.