CSIRO Publishing, Australia, 2022
Cover, text design and layout by MDCN Creative
Spring in Canberra always alerts people to our beautiful magpies because sometimes people, especially cyclists, are swooped. We see a lot of inventive head protection and hand waving.
The purpose of the swoop, of course, is to deter threatening types from the magpie’s nest and he proves himself a fierce and committed protector when necessary.
The hatching of the new chicks means swooping isn’t necessary any longer but the babies still need their parents’ care.
People across Australia will relate to this story, not just in its magpie context; perhaps it’s applicable to all parents, including human beings, whose natural instinct is to protect and care for their young.
The book includes an information section at the end with facts about magpies, their appearance, their singing and their habits. There’s also a section about Indigenous names for magpies and a bit more about swooping.
Throughout, Nicole Godwin’s story is told from the point of view of the magpie. It is clear and simple but uses a pleasing variety of vocabulary and inference.
Susannah Crispe’s characteristic clean but decorative illustrations enhance the text but also tell their own story. Pre-readers will be able to make sense of this story and will no doubt ask many questions of their reading adults.
I’m deeply enamoured of beautiful endpapers and in this book the gloriously celadon coloured eggs and their pied hatchlings make me very happy.
Swoop provides a voice for our sometimes maligned maggies and is a welcome addition to our library and home shelves.
Thank you to CSIRO Publishing for my review copy.