The sweetest egg of all by Helen Milroy

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The Sweetest Egg of All is the third book in the beautifully presented Tales from the Bush Mob series. Indigenous author Helen Milroy has captured the characteristics of the bush animals in a story about a community of animals who continue to learn to live and interact with each other peacefully.

In this story Gecko wants to surprise Bungarra for his birthday with the best present ever but has trouble deciding what to get him. He foolishly listens to King George Brown (KGB) who encourages him to steal Willy Wagtail’s egg which is supposedly ‘the sweetest egg of all’. Gecko enlists the help of Thorny Devil and Scrubby Python and together plot their dastardly plan. While KGB distracts all the birds with a birthday song practice, the egg is snatched. It is stored in a safe place, but KGB has hatched his own evil plan with King Toad and the egg is taken away to an island where it is guarded by cane toads. Meanwhile Willy Wagtail has discovered the missing egg and seeks help from Dingo and the Council. The egg is eventually returned to Willy Wagtail after the animals all use their own unique characteristics to collaborate and rescue the egg. Gecko, Thorny Devil, Scrubby Python, KGB and the cane toads have all learnt a valuable lesson. They realise what they did was wrong and try to make amends in the best way they can.

This book is clearly set out in narrative style with three separate sections: Bungarra’s Birthday Surprise, The Plan and The Plot, and The Big Rescue. The bold and colourful illustrations with white text are visually appealing and engage the reader’s attention. The double page introduction at the beginning of the book with the labelled animals is a handy guide for readers to refer to. A great story to share with children of all ages.

Themes: Aboriginal stories, Australian animals, Bush stories, Cooperation, Greed, Problem solving, Harmony, Friendships.

Kathryn Beilby