This book is based on a 10-day canoe trip up the Glenelg River taken by Trace Balla in 2012 with her partner. Clancy, 10.5 years old, is the narrator here. His Uncle Egg has been waiting for him to be old enough to take on a camping trip up the Glenelg River. Clancy doesn’t want to go—a city kid, he likes numbers, paper aeroplanes, TV and computers. He isn’t interested in canoes, birds or camping.
First night camping: the ground is too hard, there are millions of mosquitoes, and Clancy misses his toys and games. Gradually Clancy begins to enjoy himself. Clancy and Uncle Egg meet other campers, Uncle Eddie and Aunty Betty. Uncle Eddie explains that their people, the Gunditjmara, have been living in the area for about 50,000 years. Aunty Betty shows Clancy how to make string using kangaroo grass. By the end of the trip, the peaceful surroundings, the natural beauty of the river, its plants and animals have worked their magic. Clancy is now engaged with the natural world.
This book is created in comic book style, with panels and speech bubbles creating a graphic narrative. The illustrations use soft pencil and sepia ink, with the palette dominated by the olives and browns of the bush and river. Many panels also contain minutely labelled drawings and fascinating snippets of information about plants, birds and animals including the sounds that they make. Front and back endpapers are filled with even more drawings of plants, animals and birds, all labelled. A map at the back details the canoe trip.
This book is a multi-award winner including the Readings Children’s Book Prize and the Wilderness Society's Environment Award for Children's Literature in 2015. It was shortlisted in the CBCA’s Picture Book of the Year Award. the Crichton Award, NSW Premier's Literary Awards, and Speech Pathology Book of the Year Awards.
Similar books by this author include ‘Rockhopping’ and ‘Landing with Wings’.