An exciting new addition to the narrative non-fiction series Nature Storybooks, about emus.

In the open forest, Emu watches over his nest. Gathering the granite-green eggs under soft feathers, Emu will care for them and protect the fluffy chicks once they hatch. The survival of this unusual family depends upon him.


Claire Saxby was born in Melbourne and grew up in Newcastle. She’s lived in more houses than she can remember, and attended many schools. Claire is the author of many books including There Was an Old Sailor, illustrated by Cassandra Allen, which won the Crystal Kite Member Choice Award, Australia and New Zealand Division, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, 2011.

Born in Sydney sometime last century, Graham Byrne did the usual school and university time, worked as an electrical engineer for years, then went into building houses and structures. The old back injury put paid to hard physical work. An interest in art as a creative adjunct to the practical nature of building led to formal education, work installing artworks at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, and wonderings about other roads to explore. Wanting his art to have some “practical” useful purpose, to be illuminating, pointed Graham to illustration and design pathways. Explorations of drawing, painting, filling sketchbooks, making books for his grandchildren and illustrating short stories have combined to prompt his journey as a book illustrator. Big Red Kangaroo was Graham’s first picture book.


Byrne’s spiky digital illustrations perfectly display the emus’ hairlike feathering and their awkward-looking flightless movement

The Horn Book

The descriptive language Claire Saxby uses is exciting and superbly crafted… And Graham Byrne provides gloriously textured, scratchy/splodgy storytelling illustrations that truly convey the eucalyptus forest setting of the narrative.

Red Reading Hub

This picture book is a delight.

Create a Kids' Book

Australia Day List

Kids' Book Review

The illustrations are outstanding, done by computer but having a multi-media effect of watercolours, acrylics, inks and prints. They dramatically portray the harshness of the environment and the difficulty of raising several chicks under hazardous conditions.

4MBS Book Reviews

Byrne’s stunning drawings created with twigs dipped in ink, simulating a feathery texture and using a muted colour palette are really beautiful. His images are a homage to the sparse, dry, but majestic Australian bush.

Read Me

This book will be a powerful nonfiction text to have for younger readers to assimilate facts about an animal that has a special place in Australia’s culture.



Environment Award for Children’s Literature, Non-fiction
CBCA Book of the Year Awards, Eve Pownall Award for Information Books
Whitely Award, Children’s Book
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