Review Blog

Sep 18 2015

Emu's Halloween by Anne Mangan

cover image

Ill. by David Cornish. Harper Collins, 2015. ISBN 9780732298906
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Halloween. Australian animals. Rhyming story. Emu is worried because he has a Halloween party coming up but he feels it is not scary enough. So his friends, Cockatoo, Kangaroo, Koala, Tasmanian Devil, Red-back Spider, Echidna and Fruit Bat come to the rescue. Each brings along its own invention designed to make things scary. Kangaroo dresses as a zombie, while Tassie Devil is resplendent in angelic white, Koala has nuts and bolts in his neck like Frankenstein's monster, while Red-back Spider doesn't need to dress up at all! Echidna comes as Dracula, and Cockatoo uses a sheet to make him appear as a ghost. When October 31 comes around everything is just as scary as Emu had hoped. Everyone has dressed up, he tells lots of ghost stories, and Fruit Bat bobs for apples. Everyone has a truly scary time celebrating the evening.
Told in rhyming couplets, children will love reading it aloud, predicting the rhyme that matches the first line, and marvelling at how the animals fit into the tale. The story includes many known Australian animals and readers will adore looking at David Cornish's wonderful illustrations of the animals at play.
As the tale proceeds, children will learn many things about Halloween, its date, what children do on the night, how they scare each other, and learn about Frankenstein and Dracula, as well as how to use things close at hand to dress up for the celebration. Not only a wonderful story well told, and sumptuously illustrated, but a model for classrooms to celebrate an Australian Halloween.
Fran Knight

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