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Klassic Koalas: Ancient Aboriginal Tales in New Retellings

by Lee Barwood


Klassic Koalas: Ancient Aboriginal Tales in New Retellings, by Lee Barwood, Softbound; 86 pages, 8.5′ x 8.5′; (21.5cm x 21.5cm) May 1, 2007; Category: Juvenile/Animals; ISBN-13: 978-0976469810, ISBN-10:0976469812; Retail $28.99; Category: Fantasy, Myths & Legends; For ages 7+ and adults.

BW: $14.99

The Dreamtime is Australia’s time before time. Animals and birds and plants came into being and took their current forms, and Australia became what it is today—a place of wonder and diversity, populated by unique creatures found nowhere else.Now, however, Australia and its creatures are under threat—from habitat destruction, global warming, and the incursions of predators not native to Australia. This book of Aboriginal stories, retold by award-winning author Lee Barwood, brings the time of Dreaming to life. From the Great Flood to the story of how the koala lost its tail, these are some glimpses into ancient Aboriginal folklore. The accompanying illustrations are by Joanne Ehrich and artists of the Central Ohio Art Academy, directed by Donna Boiman.

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Each copy of the book contributes to the Australian Wildlife Hospital, a major project Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors Worldwide Ltd.



About the Contributors: The artwork in this book is a collaborative effort among the young artists of the Central Ohio Art Academy; their director, artist Donna Boiman; and editor/artist Joanne Ehrich. Prepared in a look reminiscent of the graphic novel style, each illustration uses bright, bold colors to embellish either a hand-drawn picture, an image drawn from electronic media, or a blend of the two.

The pictures, prepared in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, showcase not only Donna Boiman’s and her students’ capabilities in their depictions of Australian animals, but also the talents of editor Ehrich, who took all the illustrations from the students, rendered them into a common format, and added additional illustrations and thumbnails to complete the book. The artists’ creativity and love of animals shine forth from all of their images.

Storyteller Lee Barwood has been writing fantasy, environmental fiction, and mystery for over thirty years. Her stories and poetry have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine, Catfantastic III and V, and Horsefantastic; her environmental novel A Dream of Drowned Hollow won Andre Norton’s Gryphon Award. She has also worked as a magazine and newspaper editor, technical writer, and book and music reviewer.

Founder of the Central Ohio Art Academy, Donna Boiman became a professional artist after taking two graduate degrees in science and working for ten years as a pharmacist. Currently the Academy’s Director of Education, she also works as an artist; for her achievements in art and education, she has been included in four editions of Who’s Who in America. Her art includes large-scale corporate paintings, and she has also won numerous photography awards.



Illustrator and editor Joanne Ehrich lives in Los Gatos, California, USA, where she works as a graphic designer, with emphasis on print-, Web-, and user-interface design, and as a Publisher. She has attended photography trade school and holds a University degree in printmaking. Joanne has created numerous etchings, lithographs, and monotype prints, as well as paintings of animals and landscapes.

The young artists from the Central Ohio Art Academy, whose work graces these pages, are:

Helen Casebolt, who is from Pickerington, Ohio. She calls art her “passion,” and is active in drawing, sculpting, and painting; she intends to increase her proficiency in all media. She also looks forward to channeling this passion to make her dreams come true.

Kelsey Darner, who not only pursues artistic goals in Pickerington, Ohio, but also hones her abilities in the study of biology and chemistry. She wants to use her love of science and animals to become a veterinarian. Long range, she hopes to be able to work at the Australia Zoo.

Jessica Littrell, who lives in Blacklick, Ohio. She loves music as well as art, and loves to travel as well as write. One of her sculptures rests in the office of Nick Bell, Educational Officer of the Australia Zoo in Queensland. She has also won awards for her artwork.

Jessica Motz, also from Pickerington, Ohio, who plays flute and volunteers at the Fairfield Humane Society. She also is a member of 4H, and shows rabbits in addition to working on art projects. She hopes to find a profession in which she can combine her love of art and animals.

Mariya Nudel, who was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and now lives in Ohio. In 2005, she was one of the top winners in the Animals of the World art contest, judged by Nick Bell, Educational Director of the Australia Zoo. She created an original oil painting of one of Steve Irwin’s favorite tigers and presented it to the Australia Zoo with the intent that it be auctioned to raise money for the Wildlife Warriors International program for tigers.

Stavroula C. Soulas, who lives in Blacklick, Ohio. Stavroula speaks fluent Greek, has traveled to Greece to stay in touch with the family’s heritage, and is very proud of the way Greek artwork has influenced and inspired people throughout history. Eventually Stavroula hopes to be able to teach others about art and its richness.

Daniel Wiecek, from Pickerington, Ohio, who loves to draw animals and fantasy characters and to create sculptures. In 2002 he won a Lord of the Rings art show, judged by Tolkien artist John Howe of Switzerland, who worked with Academy Award-winning director Peter Jackson on all three Lord of the Rings movies. Daniel’s other interests include kung fu and video games.
More Testimonials

Jean Charles Bonnet, Antony, France:Ancient Aboriginal Tales in New Retellingswill nurture your dreams about ancient times. As we say in French, the result of this very professional work is ‘merveilleux’.”

Franke Stallworth, M.F.A. Art: “A mind-expanding adventure…. The perfect Dream Time experience, not only for ones’ children, but for all who are a child at heart.”

Helen C. Paul, English Teacher: “This collection
of Aboriginal folk tales has been updated for today’s readers and one can almost hear the haunting notes of the traditional didgeridoo and see the red earth of the arid Australian landscape.

Beautifully crafted, these stories of the “Dream Time,” as the Aborigines called the beginnings of living things, remind the reader that all morality tales and legends are similar, no matter what civilization or religion. Though often described as primitive, the Aboriginal civilization established an ecological life that enabled them to survive in their harsh land.

This short and easy-to-read volume will be a helpful addition to students studies of diverse peoples.”

Jennifer Kahal: “Beautiful Illustrations!”





ForeWord Magazine: “…These pourquoi tales explain why the koala and many of his fellow inhabitants of Australia exhibit certain physical and behavioral characteristics today.” —Angela Leeper

Read the full review.



Gail Gipp, Hospital Manager, Australia Wildlife Hospital, Wildlife Warriors Worldwide: “As a young child growing up in Stawell, Australia I was captivated by the koalas that lived in bush land nearby. That early love affair proved to be a formative one and has shaped the course of my life ever since. Klassic Koalas, through its imaginative storytelling, demonstrates the significance of the koala in the lives of many through generations. May readers of this book be similarly enthralled, so that koalas may always find their carers and protectors.”
Gail Gipp, resides at the Australian Wildlife Hospital in Beerwah, Australia. She is the Hospital Manager and has 30 years experience with hand-raising and caring for sick, injured and orphaned wildlife. Gail is also President of Wildcare Australia, one of the volunteer wildlife rescue groups that work closely with the Hospital.


Click here to listen to award-winning author Lee Barwood’s Radio Free Bliss interview in which she talks about the book.(Move slider to the 26-minute mark.)

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