Duelgum: The story of the mother eel by Uncle Joe Kirk and Greer Casey and illustrated by Sandi Harrold is heart-warming Indigenous Australian story about a mother eel who makes the long journey from her cosy home in the waterhole out to sea, to lay her eggs.
Duelgum knew her nose would lead her in the right direction.
The eggs hatch and during the next year, the baby eels slowly make their way from the sea back to the river where there mother began her journey. The tiny eels looked like little silver fish and during their trip they grow bigger and change to a greenish colour and then light brown, which helps them to camouflage in the water. They finally reach the cosy waterhole where they will live happily until it is their time to return to the sea.
Sandi Harrold's illustrations beautifully depict the waterholes with their green murky waters, as well as the vibrant blues of the ocean.
Duelgum is a lovely story that is also fun to read aloud too. It is filled with lots of verbs, describing the variety of actions of the eels on their journey and we had fun being eels too. There was lots of slithering, which was certainly a sight to see.
Uncle Joe Kirk is an elder of the Wakka Wakka people in the Brisbane area and as a young boy he would watch the mother eels going down the Brisbane river. The eel plays an important role in the Wakka Wakka culture and is a spiritual totem. Duelgum is about belonging, when you return to your mob and homeland.
Author: Uncle Joe Kirk with Greer Casey and Sandi Harrold
Illustrator: Sandi Harrold
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
Publication Date: January 2015
We are enjoying a very relaxed school holidays and we have been doing a lot of craft together. Inspired by Duelgum, we made our own salt dough eels.
We used Rainy Day Mum's Quickest Salt Dough Recipe.
We rolled our salt dough into eel shapes (which also happen to look very much like snakes) We added little fins on some of them, to make them look more like eels.
Once we were happy with the shape of our eels, we heated them in the microwave to harden them. I have to admit that it took a long time to harden them in the microwave as they were so thick, so I think I will just do it in the oven next time.
We then painted them, glue on some eyes and used Mod Podge to make them shiny, just like Duelgum.
When the morning sun shone down, Duelgum looked like a shining rainbow as the rays bounced off her shimmering skin.
To finish them off we added some googly eyes.
They look great and it was a perfect school holiday project, especially with all the rain we have been having lately. I'm not sure what we are going to do with all these little eels but I'm sure we will think of something.
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Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of this book. My opinions are, as always, my own.