On Writing Drongoes


Growing up in the bush, I cut my chops on prime Aussie slang.

Life was full of dills and drongoes, drop-kicks and silly galahs, useless buggers who couldn’t run a bath, and funny buggers who claimed to have hit every branch of the ugly tree on the way down.

Language was full of fun and effect. Cheating and stealing were lower than a goanna’s gearbox, and if you were caught in the act, you took off like a choko vine over the back dunny….

Yet these days, using Aussie slang can be a bit like speaking a foreign language to today’s kids. Hands immediately shoot up in the classroom. ‘What’s a dill? What does drongo mean?”

It occurred to me that some Aussie vernacular was in danger of dying a death if someone didn’t do something….so I wrote Drongoes to help breathe some new life into a favourite Aussie expression.

This latest chapter book in Scholastic’s Mates series of great Australian yarns introduces drongoes – (the bird, the word, and the dogged little triers it has come to represent) – to a whole new generation of newly independent readers.

If you’d like to see what others think of Drongoes, click here for Fran Knight’s review for ReadPlus, and here for Dimity Powell’s review for Boomerang Books or here for a review AND classroom activities courtesy of Children’s Books Daily.

Teachers Notes can be found at http://www.scholastic.com.au/schools/education/teacherresources/assets/pdfs/Drongoes.pdf

  1. Yr 5 Ashgrove loved listening to Drongoes this morning – what a fab story! See you at The Ashgrove Literature Festival on 19 August. Kids voted this book – FIVE STARS!

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