a happy, celebratory book, quintessentially Australian

GIVE ME A HOME AMONG THE GUM TREES
by Bob Brown and Wally Johnson, illustrated by Ben Wood - Omnibus Books, 2011
great for all ages, baby to grown-up / Australia, funny, s.o.s.e.

I grew up singing the song that provides the words for this book—if you’re Australian you probably did too. 

My cousin Lauren would sit in a rocking chair on the verandah of her home on a cattle property in Central Queensland and look out over the paddock singing it. She was 3 at the time and she'd always finish with ‘…and an oooold rocking’ That was it. She'd skip ‘chair’ at the end, maybe she thought it was redundant. It drove her mother to distraction!

There are a range of wonderful messages here; home is best, feel free to wander because home will be here, simple is best—and more. 

give me a home2 among the gum trees.jpg

But I think this is mostly just a happy book—it’s celebratory. The illustrations are great fun, with Australian fauna spilling out over every page. There's lots of detail and quirky little additions, like a teapot with three spouts, so good for searching the pictures carefully.

give me a home3 among the gum trees.jpg

At the end of the day though, it's a superb sing-along—perfect for happy afternoons!

Do click on the video - it was made at the fabulous Australia Zoo (we all miss Steve Irwin!)

 

" ... When I listen to these songs it all comes back to me. The 5,000 strong Crocodile Hunter fans who lined up for hours to be there, for Steve. The tears flowed like a river all round. Even the policemen were wiping their eyes. 'Home Among the Gum Trees' was a welcome relief for all of us. Just a moment to celebrate Australia ..."   - John Williamson

If you can manage to keep going, you can click to hear John Williamson singing True Blue on the same occasion - you'll need tissues.

 

You can buy Give Me a Home Among the Gum Trees from Booktopia

 

Chorus:
Give me a home among the gumtrees
With lots of plum trees
A sheep or two, a k-kangaroo
A clothesline out the back
Verandah out the front
And an old rocking chair

 

I've been around the world
a couple of times or maybe more
I've seen the sights, I've had delights
On every foreign shore
But when my mates all ask me
The place that I adore
I tell them right away

You can see me in the kitchen
Cooking up a roast
Or Vegemite on toast
Just you and me, a cup of tea
And later on, we'll settle down
And go out on the porch
And watch the possums play

There's a Safeways up the corner
And a Woolies down the street
And a brand new place they've opened up
Where they regulate the heat
But I'd trade them all tomorrow
For a little bush retreat
Where the kookaburras call

Some people like their houses
With fences all around 
Others live in mansions
And some beneath the ground
But me I like the bush you know
With rabbits running round
And a pumpkin vine out the back