Lee Barwood

Paranormal, Mystery, and Environmental Fiction

Klassic Koalas: Ancient Aboriginal Tales in New Retellings


See the YouTube trailer for Klassic Koalas: Ancient Aboriginal Tales in New Retellings!


The Dreamtime, Australia's time before time, is when animals, birds, and plants came into being and took their current forms. It is a sacred time to the Aboriginal people, and their stories, handed down for ages, reflect their views on everything from drought and flood to magic and survival.

The ancient wisdom of native Australians offers explanations for all the natural phenomena they lived with before the coming of the British to the continent, and these glimpses into eight of these tales display an understanding of the natural world that is lacking in today’s hectic pace. Most of the stories focus on the koala, probably Australia’s most famous marsupial and the embodiment of gentle good nature. The koala, though, occupies a powerful place in Australian Aboriginal lore that most readers will find surprising, given its gentle and tranquil nature.

In these retellings of eight stories, Lee Barwood has invoked the magic of the koala to introduce modern readers young and old to the Time of Dreaming.

In this time, with Australia and its creatures under threat from habitat destruction, global warming, and the incursions of non-native predators, this book has a two-fold purpose. The first is to offer readers of all ages a glimpse into a time that, according to legend, was the most powerful of times. The second is to help to preserve the unique creatures of Australia. Each copy of this book contributes to the Australian Wildlife Hospital, a major project of Wildlife Warriors International; Lee has donated all her royalties from the project to help koalas.

The accompanying illustrations are by Joanne Ehrich and artists of the Central Ohio Art Academy, directed by Donna Boiman.

Since this book was such a collaborative effort among the artists, if you're curious about who worked on which pages, here's the breakdown in alphabetical order:
Donna Boiman
Pages 9, 17, 19, 21, 25, 31, 35, 47
Joanne Ehrich
Cover, title page, frontispiece, layout; pages 9, 15, 16, 17, 19, 21, 25, 27, 28, 29, 34, 35, 38, 39, 46, 47, 54, 55
Helen Casebolt
Page 31
Kelsey Darner
Page 8
Jessica Littrell
Page 47
Jessica Motz
Page 17
Mariya Nudel
Page 19
Daniel Wiecek
Page 21
Stavroula Soulas
Page 35

Early reviews:

Jean Charles Bonnet, Antony, France: "Ancient Aboriginal Tales in New Retellingswill nurture your dreams about ancient times. As we say in French, the result of this very professional work is 'merveilleux'."

Helen C. Paul, English Teacher: "This collection
of Aboriginal folk tales has been updated for today's readers and one can almost hear the haunting notes of the traditional didgeridoo and see the red earth of the arid Australian landscape.

Beautifully crafted, these stories of the "Dream Time," as the Aborigines called the beginnings of living things, remind the reader that all morality tales and legends are similar, no matter what civilization or religion. Though often described as primitive, the Aboriginal civilization established an ecological life that enabled them to survive in their harsh land.

This short and easy-to-read volume will be a helpful addition to students studies of diverse peoples."

Franke Stallworth, M.F.A. Art: "A mind-expanding adventure.... The perfect Dream Time experience, not only for ones' children, but for all who are a child at heart."

Selected Works

Horror
Love and death tread the boards at a haunted Victorian theater
Love can survive death -- but so can hate. The two collide in this haunted Ozarks tale of betrayal and heroism -- on both sides of the grave.
Folklore/Juvenile
Australian wildlife images to stimulate creativity in children and adults alike
Vintage wildlife photos illustrate a children's story about koalas
Retellings of eight Australian Aboriginal tales, mostly focusing on the koala -- a powerful figure in Aboriginal lore
Fantasy
Gryphon Award-winning ecological fantasy novel, now available from Double Dragon Publishing (February 2006)
Volume I of The Ribbons of Power, this was Honor Book Award winner in Andre Norton's Gryphon Award competition
Volume II of The Ribbons of Power
Mystery
A professor is murdered. Can the plot be unraveled?

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