Review Blog

Oct 23 2011

The flying emu: A collection of Australian stories by Sally Morgan

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Walker Books, 2011. ISBN 9781921720642.
(Age 7+) Highly recommended. The Flying Emu is a collection of short stories by Sally Morgan. In the preface Sally explains that Aboriginal people have a tradition of storytelling that extends over thousands of years. As she grew up she tells of her memories of her family telling stories, often made up, as she fell asleep under a rug on the grass outside. Her grandmother had introduced her to the idea of bush creatures having their own stories to tell, which prompted a curiosity about what they might say. Whenever she was bored or unhappy she would drift off into another world that was inhabited by all sorts of intriguing creatures. There she would have great adventures. At the end of the preface she encourages the reader to have fun making up stories of their own to share. The ensuing collection of short stories optimises the spirit of this request as Australian animals are given personalities that can make you smile and provide a reason for a particular characteristic (such as an Emu that can't fly). Each story has a clear moral, including a reason for why things are the way they are. I thoroughly enjoyed reading these stories and plan to use this book as the basis for an English unit about fables with my upper primary class.
Matt Eldridge

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