MUSTARA by Rosanne Hawke
Published by Wombat Books
Every day Mustara and Taj look out onto a sea of yellow-red dust and stones. The sand rolls and shifts. Taj’s father says it is like the waves of the ocean and the spinifex bushes are little boats blown about by the wind.
Taj longs to take his young camel into the desert to explore, but like a storm in the ocean, the desert can turn wild. Taj and Mustara must prove their strength and courage.
This is a story of patience, and of triumph.
Taj is a young boy who helps his father train camels that bring supplies up from Post Augusta to go with explorers on their explorations. He desperately wants to go with the explorers on their camels, but his camel, Mustara is still young and not strong enough, according to his father.
But Taj knows that Mustara is more than capable, and he sets out to help Mustara grow bigger and stronger.
One day, Taj decides to take Mustara for a ride. Emmeline, his friend, goes too. But then, the sky changes colour. And it is quiet. Too quiet. A dust storm comes. They can't see, and it is hard to breathe. The screaming wind steals their words to each other. But Mustara is there, sitting brave and strong, shielding Taj and Emmeline from the ferocity of the dust storm. However, now, their tracks have disappeared and there is no way to know which way is home. But Mustara knows which way to go, and Taj and Emmeline are returned safely. Mr Giles (Emmeline's father) decides he does need a brave young camel after all, one that can find the camp after a dust storm.
Mustara is a picture book that can be enjoyed on many levels. It is set in 1875 and leads us to a time of cameleers, explorers and station owners. Award winning author, Rosanne Hawke, uses gentle but powerful words that sing of quiet determination and strength. Mustara is a book that you will want to reread, as a depth of understanding of early explorer life implores you to know more.
Robert Ingpen's gifted illustrations reflect the atmosphere of the story, and you will be captivated by the soulfulness that he brings to the text.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Rosanne Hawke
Illustrator: Robert Ingpen
Publisher: Wombat Books
Published: October 2015