Review Blog

Jun 02 2014

Karana, the story of the father emu by Uncle Joe Kirk, with Greer Casey and Sandi Harrold

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Ill. by Sandi Harrold. Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781743623138.
(Age: 4-6) Australian animals, Aboriginal themes. The story of the emu playing a definitive role in the hatching and bringing up of the emu chicks is told in this tale by Uncle Joe Kirk a Brisbane and Wakka Wakka elder to tell younger readers of the strength that family has in society.
The emu builds a nest all the time watching out for the female emus coming by. In rhyming couplets, the story is told of how the emu sits on his eggs through heat and cold, until he finally feels movement beneath him and the eggs hatch. He then shows them what to eat and drink, swallowing small stones to help digestion, and flattening their bodies on the long grass to avoid the threat posed by eagles, snakes, dingoes and goannas. Once he has taught all he knows for his offspring to survive, they go off by themselves, and he builds a nest ready for the next female to come by.
A story which reinforces the role of the male within the family and of a family teaching its young how to survive, the lessons learnt will make a neat platform for discussion in the classroom, using an Australian animal as the role model as well as showcasing a story used in Aboriginal families.
Fran Knight

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