NIT asked a 13 year-old Walmajarri person to review this three-book series about Yinti the Desert Dog, to give an authentic review by someone in the book’s target age range.
Yinti’s Desert Dog
This story by Jimmy Pike and Pat Lowe is a about a desert dingo called Spinifex. Yinti’s family lives in the Great Sandy Desert, Walmajarri people who live off the land. One day when Yinti’s mum, Mala was hunting she came across a very scared dingo puppy who was hiding in some spinifex.
Mala picked the puppy up and took her back to her camp where her family was living, there Mala and Spinifex grew a special relationship. Spinifex became a hunting dog and pet for the family, this book explains some of the adventures that Spinifex the dingo has gone through with Mala and her family.
The illustrations are black and white inside the book, unlike the cover where there is more of a red color covering the floor colors which shows a connection to the Great Sandy Desert and the land of northern Western Australia. This book is very interesting and has incorporated many Walmajarri words.
As a 13-year-old Walmajarri girl, reading this book was very special to me as it shows what it was like for many of my ancestors back then.
It explains the connection Walmajarri people have to the land and animals while also making it a fun and interesting story to read. The artwork is clever and simple, it doesn’t show a complicated picture or something that is hard to understand.
Yinti Desert Child
This book, Yinti Desert Child includes many stories about Yinti’s childhood in the desert. The first story dives into Yinti’s world when he goes hunting. The story progresses through Yinti and his ngamaji or second mum as she takes Yinti hunting one night while his mother and father stay back at the camp. This story was very entertaining to read as it tells a story about culture and the traditional way of life, while keeping the reader engaged by involving them in the journey that is being undertaken.
There are other stories in this book that educate the reader on Indigenous culture through the use of many Walmajarri words and telling stories of the land and Yinti’s family. The beautiful illustrations in this book tell a story and are eerily familiar to the land that is written about in the story.
Yinti Desert Cowboy
This is the final book of the three in the series, this book is about Yinti leaving his home at the Great Sandy Desert to go work on a cattle station. It tells the story of him leaving to go live a white man’s life working on a cattle station and learning new things that living in the dry sandhills could not teach him.
The story shows Yinti falling in love and becoming a man. It shows Yinti growing from a desert boy to a skilled station worker, he learns how to use a gun and drive a car, something that as a child he would have been terrified of.
The story explains the major difference between the two lives that Yinti has lived, the traditional hunter-gatherer life and the Kartiya way, dressing in clothes and working on a cattle station.
These books show Yinti’s journey as he grows and matures finding his way through life. As a reader of this series, it tells many stories and educates about Indigenous culture while making it a fun story to read. I highly recommend this series of books to any age group Indigenous or not.
By Florence Wolf