Peter sets out into the Australian bush on his pony that leaps like lightning to find a princess to rescue from a dragon—something only a brave and good person can attempt. Along the way he meets a trusty companion, a kangaroo with a bottomless pouch, and together they follow the directions of the helpful Willy Willy Man across the landscape. With a trip to the moon with the Pale Witch to sweep it clear of Russian and American cameras, a journey across the Plain of Clutching Grass, a visit to a giant’s castle and a battle with the Doubt Cats, Peter’s bravery and kindness are put to the test.
This humorous and enchanting Australian fairy tale will enthrall readers of all ages.
Alan Marshall, born in 1902, was an Australian writer, story teller, humanist and social documenter. Marshall received the Australian Literature Society Short Story Award three times. He died in 1984.
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Whispering in the Wind is a reissue, under the Text Classics banner, of a book by award-winning Australian author, Alan Marshall. Young Peter sets out from the hut he inhabits with Crooked Mick in the thick Australian bush, determined to save a princess. But first he has to find her. Mick has already taught him to ride, so he has his white pony, Moonlight, to take him, and Mick also provides him with some supplies for the trip, including a newly fashioned whip, christened Thunderbolt. The South Wind gives him some directions, and a pouch with magical contents, and before long he is joined by a kangaroo, Greyfur, whose pouch comes in very handy. The pouch seems to have an unlimited capacity, producing food and furniture when desired, a myriad of useful items as the situation requires (a wharfie, a crane, a posthole digger, to name a few), and even, to prove a point, an elephant. Peter and Moonlight and Greyfur face a number of obstacles and dangers to learn where, and then reach, the castle holding said princess, is. After which, of course, Peter must face three challenges to win her hand. The journey involves encounters with several creatures with malicious intent as well as a few more benign ones. The Pale Witch, the Jarrah Giant, the Bunyip, the greedy King and the Willy Willy are all changed by making Peter’s acquaintance. Marshall gives the reader a fantastic tale full of quirky characters and crazy happenings. It has elements of Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, but some of the dialogue is definitely tongue-in-cheek and will appeal to older readers. Marshall is an interesting character: known best for his fictionalised memoir, I Can Jump Puddles, he was a dedicated anti-fascist activist, so he was in ASIO’s files, yet he was awarded an OBE and an AOM. The illustrations by Jack Newnham are excellent. An Aussie Classic for young and old alike. This unbiased review is from an unsolicited copy provided by Text Publishing.