Emu and the Water Tree by Gladys Milroy

Gladys Milroy                       

Fremantle Press (2012)

ISBN: 9781921888714

Reviewed by Elinor Couper

As Emu is flying around one day he spies an unusual tree. Landing in the tree Emu discovers it is full of pure, clean water. A serpent lives in the tree and demands brightly coloured stones from Emu in exchange for the water. Emu keeps this a secret from his bush friends who are dying of thirst as all the rivers, creeks and waterbeds have dried up.

Eventually the brightly coloured stones run out and Serpent demands that Emu give him his golden feather in exchange for the rest of the water in the tree. Without the golden feather, Emu is unable to fly. As Emu realises Serpent’s true colours he is faced with a moral dilemma – keep his golden feather and his ability to fly or save his bush friends from dying of thirst and never being able to fly again. Magpie explains to Emu, “What you must do, Emu, is listen to your heart. If you follow your heart, then you will make the right choice.”

“Emu and the Water Tree” is part of the Waarda Series for young children. Waarda is Nyungar for talking and sharing stories and information. This is a new Indigenous children’s series edited by Sally Morgan. The series is designed to support the literacy needs of Indigenous children in primary school. At the same time; it will introduce non-Indigenous children to the richness and depth of Indigenous storytelling. Above all, it is a collection of fun, interesting and diverse first chapter books for new readers.

Teaching notes available from www.fremantlepress.com.au

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