The West Australian newspaper reviewed The Magic Trumpet
on October 19 1946:
The happy collaboration of Mary and Elizabeth Durack has
produced many attractive volumes but none more aesthetically pleasing than The
Magic Trumpet (Cassell & Company Ltd London, New York, Melbourne 1946).
This is a story in graceful verse by Mary Durack and illustrated with the
vivacious originality we have come to expect from her sister, Elizabeth. The
verse, which has a rippling music that is full of a new-world faery atmosphere,
tells of a black boy born to an aboriginal mother who
was half afraid to own him
As he lay upon his paperbark
She sighed for him, and cried for him
A little while because
She knew him for a strangeling,
A brown fairy changeling:
But he may be mortal yet, she said
And he very nearly was!
Although he grows like a mortal, he remains a sort of
dark-skinned Peter Pan, dodging the responsibilities of mortality until he
becomes the shadowy spirit of the land.
The illustrations in sepia and in full
colour are photo-lithographed and reproduced with admirable fidelity. Combining
bold design with clever draughtsmanship, they swirl through the pages and
interpret the story in a way that cannot fail to delight
Present-day responses to this early review are welcome.
The Magic Trumpet was the last of the unprompted collaborations between the sisters. Henceforth, while they remained forever mutually supportive, their goals and careers diverged. A few co-productions continued into the 1960s but in effect, by the mid 1940s the original compulsion to collaborate with words and pictures had gone.