Author(s): Tohby Riddle
Luminous images, accompanied by newspaper extracts dating back to the early 1800s and words by Ngiyampaa Elder, Peter Williams, explore the ongoing mystery of yahoo encounters. 'He was surprised to observe a hairy human form, about seven feet in height, walking in the bush.' Queanbeyan Age, 24 August 1886 Throughout the first century or so of Australian settlement by Europeans, the pages of colonial newspapers were haunted by reports of a bewildering phenomenon: the mysterious yahoo or hairy man ... But what was it? Yahoo Creek breathes life into this little-known piece of Australian history - which, by many accounts, is a history still in the making. 'These stories are not my stories or your stories, they're our stories.' Peter Williams, Ngiyampaa Elder
CBCA 2020 Shortlist:The Eve Pownall Award for Information Books
CBCA Review:This book explores the mysterious yahoo through newspaper accounts of white settlers, farmers and their children’s encounters with the 'yahoo', 'hairy man' or 'yowie' from 1847-1944 along the Great Dividing Range. Through moonlit blue-black stencils, sponge effects and silhouette cut-outs Riddle depicts the yahoo as friendless, bewildered and frightened, like a wild animal. But children seem to pose no threat to him. The veracity of the reports is always questionable, but people’s fascination with the concept of the solitary, wild, hair-covered hominid in the bush endures, even in the names of places, such as Yahoo Creek. Peter Williams, Ngiyampaa Elder, acknowledging the role of the yahoo, the ‘berai’ or ‘yuriwinna,’ in Aboriginal culture, states that ‘to my people he is spiritual figure, but he has a physical body and strong smell like a wet dog’. Riddle’s book offers another way of looking at history, landscape and culture, inviting further reading for young readers to follow the leads of his sources and collation of responses to an alien character in the enigmatic Australian bush.
Tohby Riddle is a multi-award-winning creator of picture books and illustrated books that have been published in many languages throughout the world. Recent titles include Unforgotten and The Greatest Gatsby: a visual book of grammar. He has also written a novel; was the cartoonist for ten years at Good Weekend (the Saturday magazine of the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne's Age); and is a former editor of the The School Magazine, a literary magazine for children published by the NSW Department of Education. Tohby is based in the Blue Mountains town of Katoomba in Australia.