Wednesday 9 October 2013

Welcome Little Scrub Fowl

Welcome Little Scrub Fowl by Sandra Kendell (Windy Hollow Books)
HC RRP $ 25.95
ISBN 9781922081261
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

How many readers know what a megapode is? Megapode is Greek for big foot. There are 19 species of birds that are megapodes and the Orange-footed Scrubfowl is one of them. This story is about the Scrubfowl, their laying and life habits.

From the beautiful shadowed illustrations on the fly pages to the vibrant, and eye-catching covers, every part of this book including the prose, is perfectly presented. The soft watercolour illustrations create a background of harmony and fluidity between the text and artwork.

Their house has legs. Their garden is ‘wild and green’, full of birds, fruit trees, lizards, frogs and vegetables. But the seedlings are found ‘scratched up’. Mum knows it’s the scrubfowl, and she gets cross. The child can hear them singing in the night and mum calls it courting. The child doesn’t know what that is, but imagines scrubfowls wearing crowns in the garden, surrounded by owls, possums, and tiny insects that have permanent residence there.

Mum knows they are scratching around to make a mound to lay their clutch of eggs. When it hatches, the little scrubfowl digs its way out of the earth to the surface. They are now independent beings.

This is a most informative, educational and entertaining story on the Orange-footed Scrubfowl found in the ‘Top End of the Northern Territory, north-eastern Queensland, and some islands in the Indonesian archipelago’. It has a double spread of information about this interesting bird at the end of the book.

Windy Hollow Books has caught the attention of lovers of children’s books everywhere with their excellent themes, beautiful productions and carefully considered presentation. They are a delight to read and learn from, and equally delightful to gift to anyone that enjoys quality in Australian children’s books.

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