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Mad Magpie

May 1, 2016

Mad Magpie

By Gregg Dreise, Magabala Books, 2016.

‘Stay calm like the surface of the water, yet strong like its current.’

Cover of a book with a painted and stylised magpie surrounded by indigenous dot paintingsThis beautiful masterpiece is both written and illustrated by a descendant of the Kamilaroi and Yuwalayaay people of the north-west New South Wales and the south-west Queensland areas, and published by Magabala, the oldest independent Indigenous publishing house in Australia. Mad Magpie is a richly illustrated artistic masterpiece that integrates the author’s indigenous Gamilaraay language in the names of the animals that we meet throughout the book!

Guluu is an angry magpie who has been teased by a group of butcher birds. In turn, Guluu has been swooping down and attacking other animals. We learn about why Guluu is so angry and what has been happening to him. The Elders teach Guluu how to deal with the mean butcher birds and not become angry when they tease him.

Mad Magpie is a story about overcoming adversity and standing strong in the face of difficulty.

I hope that if you are from a country other than Australia, that you would still consider buying this book. You and your child will learn a little about Australia’s ancient past, as well as learning some strategies for helping a child who is being bullied.

Download the Teacher Resource.


Longlisted: Small Publishers’¬†Children’s Book of the Year, Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA),¬†2017.

Winner: Indigenous Children’s Book of the Year, Speech Pathology Australia, 2017.

Wrap Up

Mad Magpie

  • 9/10
  • 9.5/10
  • 8/10
    Educational content
  • 0.1/10
  • 7.5/10


  • Stunningly illustrated.
  • Strong indigenous Australian illustrations, use of language, and choice of animals.
  • Strong moral message.
  • The main character conquers the bullies who are teasing him.
  • Uplifting story.

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