Jeremy by Chris Faille

cover image

Ill. by Danny Snell. Working Title Press, 2013. ISBN 978192150440. 2.
(Age: 4-6) Highly recommended. Picture book. Australian birds. Rescue. What a delight. I love the use of a kookaburra as the rescued bird and the Australian suburbs illustrated in all their glory on the second to last page as the bird finds its home.
Jeremy is a fledgling brought inside by the house cat. The tale proceeds as the boy cares for the bird, settling him on a hot water bottle, feeding him thorough an eye dropper, and later, insects form the garden. We watch the little bird grow, as its feathers fill out, its beak becomes larger and the bird practices flying. It sits in the garden watching the other birds, and each progression is marked, giving the readers a precise idea of just how quickly the little bird grows. Time passes until one day Jeremy flies off with the other kookaburras on the electricity lines nearby.
Based on a true story, the tale will remind its readers of others with a similar theme, Bob Graham's How to heal a broken wing for example, but this one uses a kookaburra which is not often seen in children/s books, and the tale could be used in discussion with children about rescuing animals, the life cycle of birds, how to raise a bird, the nature of cats and so on, the illustrations adding a humorous undertone to the whole. The picture of Jeremy sitting on its purple cushion on the bright green lounge chair is magnificent and will draw any reader in to open the book.
And the end papers are used to list a large number of facts about kookaburras which will further endear the readers to this Australian bird.
Fran Knight