Review Blog

Sep 11 2014

Emus under the bed by Leann J Edwards

cover image

Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 978743313459.
(Age: Preschool) Recommended. Picture book. Indigenous themes. When the narrator visits her Aunt Dollo on Saturdays, she not only connects with family, but her Aboriginal culture. Aunt Dollo is an artist. She collects feathers from all sorts of birds and makes flowers with them. Aunt Dollo tells her niece where she gets the feathers, and together they make a headband for the girl. At lunch they sit outside with Uncle Rex who makes them damper to eat under the gum trees. But Aunt Dollo has a surprise and asks her into the room to lift the quilt. Under the bed are six emu chicks. What a marvellous day.
During the day the reader assimilates much about Aboriginal culture, and can relate the birds that live close by, the sorts of trees to be found in their community and what the family eats. The passing on of culture is shown as the aunt teaches the girl about using their environment to make an art piece.
The illustrations reflect the story, with swathes of colour crossing each page, and the stylised images recognisably from an Aboriginal pen. This book is one of a number produced under the auspices of the Emerging Indigenous Picture Book Mentoring Project, with the support of the Little Big Book club, Allen & Unwin and the Australia Council.
Fran Knight

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