Emily and the BIG BAD Bunyip, by Jackie French & Bruce Whatley

Reviewed by Dale Harcombe

The award winning and highly successful team of Jackie French and Bruce Whatley have a new picture book, sure to delight children and the parents and teachers who read to them.

What do you do with a bunyip who doesn’t like Christmas? You try and make him smile, of course, and find something to like about the Festive Season. The text is simple and undeniably Australian. It bounces along as easily as the kangaroos in Shaggy Gully do. I loved the illustrations, particularly the prickly echidnas and the peckish emus.

There’s just enough repetition to please children and readers as well with the koalas ‘eating gum leaves – because that’s what koalas do best.’ And you’ll fall in love with the possums and bats ‘hanging about.’

Several aspects, particularly the Shaggy Gully chorus pages, were reminiscent to me of Pamela Allen’s Bertie and the Bear, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Children will love adults who can read these pages with expression.

The text and illustration that introduces us to the bunyip is a delight. What to do with a bunyip who doesn’t like Christmas or Christmas presents raises a problem. The solution is clever and unexpected. Children will love it! If you buy one picture book this Christmas make it this one. Or buy it not for Christmas but for no other reason than it’s a great fun book. Destined to be a classic.

Emily and the Big Bad Bunyip

Emily and the BIG BAD Bunyip, Written by Jackie French, Illustrated by Bruce Whatley
Angus&Roberston An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2008 $24.95

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