Emily and the Big Bad Bunyip by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley

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Emily and the Big Bad Bunyip by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley

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Buy Emily and the Big Bad Bunyip by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Magda Healey
Reviewed by Magda Healey
Summary: A better-than-average Christmas book bringing together a bunch of Aussie characters known from other picture books by the same author.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: October 2009
Publisher: Harper Collinns Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0007324279

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The author-illustrator partnership that created the Diary of a Wombat, Pete the Sheep and Josephine Wants to Dance bring all their Aussie characters together in a Christmas book with a Antipodean twist.

It's Christmas in Shaggy Gully. Everybody is getting ready for the celebrations, each in its own way: kangaroos are bouncy, echidnas are prickly, emus peckish and the possums are just hanging around. Bunyip is, as befits a Bunyip, mad, bad, mean and ugly. I'm mad and I'm mean!. You can see that Bunyips don't, really, like Christmas.

However, as Dawn and her chorus are getting in the spirit of things and playing carols, Emily the Emu's tuba is playing her up - and when the Bunyip hears the sounds Emily's instrument is producing, he decides to emerge from his boggy lair...

Nary a Santa or a Christmas tree in this Christmas book, but the spirit of the occasion is very much present and any children familiar with some of the characters from the previous books will delight in finding them in this one.

Bruce Whatley's illustrations are as delightful as ever, and Emily is truly irrepressible in her determination to cheer up Bunyip and utterly memorable in her cheerful countenance and a harido redolent of the most terrifying 80's aerobic nightmares.

Now, to the Bunyip himself. I have to admit I have not heard of bunyips before and for a moment even suspected it was an Australian animal I was not familiar with (all other characters are derived from existing animals). But no, bunyip is a mythical creature, the only one that the white settlers borrowed from the native Australian folklore, and probably translates best as a bog monster. The one in the Jackie French book is not particularly scary and seems to have a lot in common with Grinch (though has no intentions of spoiling everybody's Christmas, just doesn't wish to join in).

All in all, an unusual and entertaining variation on a Christmas book, recommended for children familiar with Jackie French characters or at least Australian fauna, probably from around 3½ to 5 years old.

Thanks to the publishers for sending this book to the Bookbag.

Dr Seuss' classic Grinch also has an anti-Christmas monster.

Buy Emily and the Big Bad Bunyip by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Emily and the Big Bad Bunyip by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Emily and the Big Bad Bunyip by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Emily and the Big Bad Bunyip by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley at Amazon.com.

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