Edward the Emu 35th Anniversary Edition
32pp., hbk., RRP $A22.99
Edward the emu was sick of the zoo,
There was nowhere to go and nothing to do,
And compared to the seals that lived right next door,
Well being an emu was frankly, a bore.
And so Edward decides he is going to be someone else entirely – he tries swimming with the seals, he spends a day lounging with the lions, and even slithers with the snakes – before realising that perhaps the thing he is best at is being himself.
This is an Australian children’s classic, first published 35 years ago, and one shared with so many classes and children in my care ever since. The children always respond so well because apart from the storyline, its rhyme and rhythm and its glorious illustrations, it is one of the best stories ever for helping our young people understand that who they are and being that is enough. And their turn to shine will come, even if the spotlight is on someone else right now. Certainly, when I include a copy of it in a storybook cushion, parents buy it because they remember it as an integral part of their childhood story journey.
And there is even more fun if it is teamed with Edwina the Emu, the sequel which follows Edward’s journey but with a focus on his mate who is also trying to find her identity.
These two stories are classic Australian children’s literature at its best – there is a message of being comfortable and confident about who you are but it is subtle and embedded first and foremost in an entertaining engaging story which has to be the primary focus of any author. No wonder they have stood the test of time and are still around to delight yet another generation.