Review Blog

Sep 19 2012

The emu that laid the golden egg by Yvonne Morrison

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Ill. Heath McKenzie. Little Hare, 2012. ISBN 978
(Ages 5+) Warmly recommended. Picture book. Rhyming text. Based loosely on the fable, The goose that laid the golden egg, this picture book shows an emu inadvertently coming into the range of two rotten scoundrels. The emu is one of several foraging for food in an increasingly difficult environment, the end of the town, grabbing what they can from the roadside and rubbish bins, but our hapless emu follows a beetle. She looks everywhere, finally spying some golden grains of corn at the bottom of the creek. She scoops these up and the very next day lays a golden egg. In finding this amazing egg the scoundrels plot to kidnap the bird, thinking that she may produce more golden eggs and so enact their plan. Incarcerated by the men, the emu eats what she can find, an old boot, a cushion, part of the chandelier and the knobs form the old bed. Next day the men find she has laid eggs that closely resemble the things she has eaten. She returns to her flock content now to forage for her food along with the others.
In rhyming stanzas, the humour of the words will add to the glee of the listeners as they hear of the emu and her efforts to gain food, and the scoundrels in trying to get another golden egg from her. Read a loud or read in a small group the stanzas add to the fun of the story with readers predicting what the next words will be.
And all along the story is reiterated in the glorious illustrations, helping the readers gain a larger helping of humour and wit. Readers will have great fun with this story, contemplating why the emus have moved into town and what the illustrator is representing in his drawings of what the emus are forced to eat. The comparison with the fable will add another level of meaning to the tale as it is read.
Fran Knight

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