Emu by Claire Saxby, illustrated by Graham Byrne

Published by Candlewick

Summary: After a female emu helps build a nest and lays eggs, her responsibilities are done. It’s up to the male to sit on the eggs for eight weeks, not even leaving to eat or drink, then to take care of the young hatchlings for over a year until they are ready to look for mates of their own. The Australian author-illustrator team that produced last year’s Red Kangaroo follows the life of a male emu as he waits on the nest, welcomes the new babies, and teaches them to fend for themselves. The text is written in two different fonts; one could be read aloud while the other gives additional related facts and information. A brief author’s note and index are included at the end. Grades K-3.

Pros: Sure “emu” is a good Scrabble or Boggle word, but there’s lots more to the world’s second largest bird.  One of the lesser-known Australian animals, it is nonetheless fascinating, and Emu has a lot of information for a picture book. The illustrations are unusual but striking and complement the text well.

Cons: I wasn’t crazy about the color pallet used for the illustrations.

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