From an evaluation: " ... a delight to read. The words, images, personalities and situations have that ring of truth which only the keen ear and eye captures. The handling of kin networks is excellent, as is attachment to country. These sub-themes of kin and country are interwoven throughout the dialogue and action, and emerge as the sustaining ideals of the Aboriginal life style. The sharing of food and other resources, the high mobility, the warmth and acceptance, the common interests emerge naturally from the text. One of the major themes is the discovery of language, and through that a discovery of one's self. This is delightfully achieved through the actual journey of the child from her home in Alice Springs to Brisbane and back. This book should not be restricted to children. Adults should also enjoy the style and could learn much".
Born in Sydney in the post-depression baby boom, Margaret Sharpe's ambition at the age of ten was to fly the first rocket to the moon. Her school friends in 1945 thought this very funny. Since then she has worked in CSIRO Division of Physics, in the Philippines as a missionary linguist, and since 1965 has done research on Australian Aboriginal languages in NSW, Queensland, and the Northern Territory. All this has brought her into contact with many interesting people of different races, cultures and life styles.
Travelling to Alice Springs in 1976 to research Aboriginal children's English there, she and her family were in danger of being washed away in floods in Queensland. In Alice Springs she had a glorious six months listening to and talking with children, and enjoying the country there. She thought she had finished this book in 1981 until her 11-year-old daughter and an Aboriginal teacher at Armidale both wanted to know what Patricia told her friends when she got back to school in Alice Springs. So chapter 11 was added.
Dr Sharpe lives in Armidale with her husband and two children, and lectures at the Armidale College of Advanced Education.