Emu by Claire Saxby

cover image

Ill. by Graham Byrner. Walker Books, 2014. ISBN 9781922179708.
(Age: 5-adult) Highly recommended. Picture book. Australian animals. Emu. Nurturing. With an emu peering out at the reader on the front cover, the desire to open the book is nothing short of compelling. From page one with the beautiful digitally produced images of the emus strutting across each page, the words and illustrations meld to make a fine, thought provoking and informative book.
Facts about the emu and their habits are given in short paragraphs, in easy to understand text which will intrigue younger readers and adults alike. The emu sits on his eggs, the female having done the work of laying them and it is up to him to protect and care for them when they hatch. The two texts usually sit on either side of each double page spread, one describing the emu watching out for predators, a goanna, a dingo, an eagle, while the other gives the plain facts. The different font gives a clue as to which is story and which information, although both texts are highly informative.
Readers will learn of the various animals, grasses and trees which form the habitat of the emu. They will learn of the habits of the animals in rearing their young, and the length of gestation, youth and eventual separation of the young from the adult. In classrooms and at home, this book will be a powerful nonfiction text to have for younger readers to assimilate facts about an animal that has a special place in Australia's culture.
The emu's habitat and the animals with which it shares its space are presented, and the book has a brief but most useful index, with a page of extra information about the emu, as well as information about the author and illustrator who collaborated in 2013, to produce Big red kangaroo, presented in the same formidable way.
Fran Knight