The following review is by Catherine Way of Indirect Observations. It originally appeared in 2010, and with Easter around the corner I thought many of you might enjoy hearing about this lovely book from another part of the world. – Kara
For this Easter, being Australian, I have chosen to review Hunwick’s Egg by Mem Fox, illustrated by Pamela Lofts.
After a storm, Hunwick the bilby finds a wonderful egg. When no-one claims the egg, Hunwick decides he will care for it. He befriends the egg and takes good care of it. But when the egg doesn’t hatch Hunwick’s friends worry. But Hunwick is not upset, he knows the secret of the egg.
This charming story of explores the theme of friendship and unconditional love. Hunwick’s relationship with the egg reminds me of my son’s relationship with his teddy. For my son, his teddy is someone who always loves him, listens to him and keeps him company. And I think that is why my son loves this story, because the egg provides friendship for Hunwick and Hunwick loves the egg whether it hatches or not.
The story is accompanied by beautiful detailed illustrations of Australian desert plants and animals.
I thought that this Australian Easter story would be an appropriate review for the Easter weekend because in Australia, many believe that Easter eggs are delivered not by the Easter bunny but by the Easter bilby. By buying bilby-shaped chocolates at Easter, rather than rabbit-shaped chocolates, Australians are supporting research and conservation of bilbies.
You can read the story of the Burra Nimu, the Easter bilby here.
Photo by Stephen Mitchell
Bilbies are marsupials. They are about the size of a rabbit and like rabbits have large ears. They are found in arid areas of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland. Bilbies are endangered because of habitat destruction and competition for food with rabbits and livestock. You can find out more on this factsheet.
You can read an interview with the book’s author, Mem Fox, where she describes how she got the idea for this Easter story. She named the bilby after her friend John Hunwick who was dedicated to saving the bilby and involved in the movement for an Easter bilby rather than an Easter bunny.
Mem Fox is a very popular Australian children’s author. Two of her other books, Time for Bed and Harriet, You’ll Drive Me Wild have been reviewed on Simple Kids. Some other wonderful books she has written featuring Australian animals are Possum Magic, Koala Lou and Wombat Divine (an Australian Christmas story).
Kara here, saying thank you to Catherine for introducing me to this author and for teaching us a little about Australian Easter traditions and the Easter Bilby. For those who observe it, how will you be spending Easter with your kids?