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John Williamson’s Old Man Emu

Author: John Williamson, illustrated by Simon McLean

Genre: Poetry

Publisher: Puffin

Published: 29th September 2020

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 32

Price: $19.99

Synopsis: A new picture book adaptation of John Williamson’s first and now legendary hit song, ‘Old Man Emu’, to celebrate John’s 50th year of performing and the song’s 50th anniversary in 2020.

This iconic Australian song tells the very funny tale of the emu and its many traits – good and bad: He can’t fly, but I’m telling you, he can run the pants off a kangaroo! The story compares the emu to lots of other Australian birds (galah, cockatoo, wedge-tail eagle, kookaburra) and of course to the kangaroo, providing wonderful opportunities for hilarious illustrations.

It’s the song that launched John Williamson’s career way back in 1970. John performed the song on the TV talent quest of the day, ‘New Faces’ and won first place, which led him to his first recording contract with Fable Records. It still remains one of John Williamson’s most popular songs.

~*~

Old Man Emu is one of those songs that everyone in Australia knows. It’s iconic, like the emu itself, and is a fun and humorous look at the good and bad things about emu, and how he compares to the other bush animals -leading to a lesson in accepting who you are and what you have. Emu is mostly compared to other Australian birds – well-known ones – and what each one has.

The lyrics are set out beautifully, and can be read or sung, and enjoyed by all ages. It’s one of those books that crosses generations, ages and audiences, and is probably best read out loud, or even sung, but can also be read quietly to learn about language, and the rhythm of words as they appear on the page.

Singing it or reciting it can help children recognise rhythm and poetic aspects in language and will help them pick up on words as they begin to learn how to speak and read.

John Williamson’s funny lyrics are accompanied by the joyful illustrations of Simon McLean, bringing life to Australia’s wildlife, whilst still maintaining the realistic characteristics of these animals, and their place in Australia and its environment. It is one of those books that will be treasured by several generations – for nostalgic reasons, and as a way for new generations to engage with, and discover the song for the first time.

It will be a great book to use at home, and in an educational setting, and one that I hope readers of all ages will enjoy and find something to connect with in this book.

Title: John Williamson’s Old Man Emu

Author: John Williamson, illustrated by Simon McLean

Genre: Poetry

Publisher: Puffin

Published: 29th September 2020

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 32

Price: $19.99

Synopsis: A new picture book adaptation of John Williamson’s first and now legendary hit song, ‘Old Man Emu’, to celebrate John’s 50th year of performing and the song’s 50th anniversary in 2020.

This iconic Australian song tells the very funny tale of the emu and its many traits – good and bad: He can’t fly, but I’m telling you, he can run the pants off a kangaroo! The story compares the emu to lots of other Australian birds (galah, cockatoo, wedge-tail eagle, kookaburra) and of course to the kangaroo, providing wonderful opportunities for hilarious illustrations.

It’s the song that launched John Williamson’s career way back in 1970. John performed the song on the TV talent quest of the day, ‘New Faces’ and won first place, which led him to his first recording contract with Fable Records. It still remains one of John Williamson’s most popular songs.

~*~

Old Man Emu is one of those songs that everyone in Australia knows. It’s iconic, like the emu itself, and is a fun and humorous look at the good and bad things about emu, and how he compares to the other bush animals -leading to a lesson in accepting who you are and what you have. Emu is mostly compared to other Australian birds – well-known ones – and what each one has.

The lyrics are set out beautifully, and can be read or sung, and enjoyed by all ages. It’s one of those books that crosses generations, ages and audiences, and is probably best read out loud, or even sung, but can also be read quietly to learn about language, and the rhythm of words as they appear on the page.

Singing it or reciting it can help children recognise rhythm and poetic aspects in language and will help them pick up on words as they begin to learn how to speak and read.

John Williamson’s funny lyrics are accompanied by the joyful illustrations of Simon McLean, bringing life to Australia’s wildlife, whilst still maintaining the realistic characteristics of these animals, and their place in Australia and its environment. It is one of those books that will be treasured by several generations – for nostalgic reasons, and as a way for new generations to engage with, and discover the song for the first time.

It will be a great book to use at home, and in an educational setting, and one that I hope readers of all ages will enjoy and find something to connect with in this book.

1 thought on “John Williamson’s Old Man Emu”

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