Miranda Tapsell $ Joshua Tyler
Allen & Unwin, 2020
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
In the Tiwi Islands north of Darwin, it is time to get dressed for Aunty’s wedding. But in this hot, humid climate it is not a time for long white dresses, high-heeled shoes and other fancy finery – although Uncle, the groom, does dress “like a penguin”. No, this is a time for a light, pretty hat, a wurrijinga in the hair or on the shirt, and a japalingini and pamijini for the bride… But what is a wedding and why do we have them?
Beautifully illustrated with the meaning of the unfamiliar words made very clear, this is a story that not only celebrates Aunty’s wedding but also makes us think about the rites and rituals of other weddings the reader might have attended or seen. Is Aunty any less married because her wedding ceremony is different or is Maningawu’s explanation of it being about love and two people publicly promising to care for each other forever at the core of all marriages and the rest of it just added extras? What a stunning way to introduce an exploration into the ceremonies of the different cultures represented in the school. A worthy addition to the new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection now available through the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature.