Big Sky Publishing, 2017
Since its early days as a fledgling settlement, Australia has had a great reliance on sheep, particularly the income from the wool they produce. For a century our economy “rode on the sheep’s back” as it depended on primary industry for the nation’s living standards. However, in recent decades this dependency has decreased somewhat and there is a greater distance between city and country than ever before.
Nevertheless, farming is still a critical industry for our nation and there are going to be thousands of country kids who will see themselves in this story of their lives in 2017. As shearing time comes around again in many rural areas, they will be the child in the story up at the crack of dawn and ready for a day’s hard work in the shearing shed. And apart from the mechanisation of the shed, it is still the same back-breaking process of years and generations gone by with the same satisfaction of having done a good days’ work at the end of it.
This is a refreshing story that not only puts our country students in the frame but also allows their city cousins to have a glimpse of a different kind of life and help them understand the vital role that our rural communities have in our welfare and well-being and that other kids spend their time doing very different things. “From paddock to plate” has become a familiar phrase of recent cooking shows and Shearing Time is an illustration of a similar sort of theme that opens lots of possibilities for investigations for all ages as we select our clothes from local chain stores and few have a Made In Australia label. So once it is shorn, skirted, graded and baled what does happen to the wool?
Based on her own childhood memories, Allison Paterson and illustrator Shane McGrath have created an insight that entertains as well as educates. Click go the Shears – that iconic song of any Australian singalong – has come to life.