Emulate the Emu: Hard-Working Dads of the Animal World

BookendsCindy: Dads often don’t get enough credit, but Claire Saxby’s Emu (2015) will help their reputation. In the animal world, it is often the mother who does the lion’s share of the work, but emus apparently join the likes of emperor penguins and seahorses when it comes to tending to their young. Saxby shares her information in two threads, which are distinguished by different font choices and page placements. The tale of a father emu who tends the nest after the mother emu lays her eggs and moves on (having nothing more to do with the eggs or raising of her young)Emu is told in one of the threads, painting language-rich scenes of tending the nest, hatching chicks, and protecting the chicks from predators. In the other thread, the story is supplemented by short paragraphs of emu facts related to the scene at hand.

Saxby’s text shines alongside fabulous digital paintings from Australian artist Graham Byrne. His stunning cover art, showing a papa emu staring at the reader, will capture kids who see this book displayed face out. The illustrations that wait within will keep them turning pages, although slowly, so they can take in the details in each spread as the perspective changes.

Saxby’s text shines alongside fabulous digital paintings.

Perhaps my favorite part is the simple index on the final page, listing 11 terms (beaks, nests, predators, etc.) with 1–10 page numbers listed for each. Young readers can practice using this index. Teachers could use this book with a visual presenter after reading it aloud. He could display the index and then turn to the appropriate page and have the students find the terms listed in the index. Maybe I should share this book with my 7th graders, too!



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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