High in the treetops a baby eagle shrieked and called for its parents to return. Little Eagle was growing quickly. He was always hungry, so both parents had to leave the nest to find food for him. They loved Little Eagle and couldn’t wait to soar with him into the sky and show him the amazing world they lived in.
Eagle, Crow and Emu – Bird Stories is a collection of three bird stories told in an Indigenous storytelling style. In the first, ‘Eagle and Bullfrog’, Little Eagle struggles to learn how to fly, but is helped by his land-dwelling friends. ‘The Great Cold’ tells the story of Magpie who wants to join all the other animals in the Cavern where they will be safe from the Great Cold. First she must find a way to keep her egg warm and safe. In ‘Emu and the Water Tree’, Emu learns the consequences of selfishness and the rewards of sacrifice. Each story includes black and white illustrations and is told in short chapters.
Two of these stories (‘The Great Cold’ and ‘Emu and the Water Tree’) have previously appeared as stand-alone stories, but with ‘Eagle and Bullfrog’ offer a collection of stories ideal for young readers. They offer young Indigenous readers the opportunity to read stories told in the same style as they would have been if shared orally. They also offer non-Indigenous readers an entry point to traditional Australian stories. Buried in each of engaging story is information about the fauna and landscape of Australia as well as stories about how to live. Perfect for newly independent readers and beyond.
Eagle, Crow and Emu – Bird Stories, Gladys Milroy and Jill Milroy
Fremantle Press 2016
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller