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Sun Mother Wakes the World: An Australian Creation Story    adapted by Diane Wolkstein & Bronwyn Bancroft order for
Sun Mother Wakes the World
by Diane Wolkstein
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

You can feel Sun Mother's heat rising from the cover of this lovely picture book, which re-tells a creation story of the indigenous people of Australia. Diane Wolkstein introduces it by explaining the ongoing process of creation that is called the 'Dreamtime', and tells us why people go 'walkabout'. In Notes at the end, the author credits the original story to 'a Karraru woman of ... South Australia'. Text is accompanied by drawings by Bronwyn Bancroft, as strong and bright as the Aussie landscape.

We learn how Sun Mother was awoken from darkness. As she travelled the Earth, 'grass, plants, and trees sprouted in her footprints.' She woke animal spirits from dark caves, and then returned to glide across the sky from east to west. When the animals quarreled, Sun Mother gave them one last chance to change their shapes ... indecisive platypus chose a 'beak, fur, webbed feet, and a tail!' Sun Mother gave birth to Moon and Morning Star, from whom in turn the first woman and man were born. Sun Mother adjured them to 'walk the land to keep it alive.'

Sun Mother Wakes the World gives us a rare glimpse into a beautiful and rich mythology, gorgeously illustrated. I hope there will be more such picture books.

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