Emily’s Bush Christmas

by Jackie French
Front cover of "Emily's Bush Christmas" showing Australian animals with presents, Santa hats and smilesIllustrated by Bruce Whatley
published by Harper Collins, Sydney, 2008

Age group: preschool to mid-primary

Coming from Jackie French and Bruce Whatley, you already know this book will be fun, child-friendly and accurately depict Australian animals.

The story of Emily’s Bush Christmas

It’s Christmas Day in Shaggy Gully and most of the animals are having fun, but Emily Emu is concerned that Bunyip isn’t having fun so everyone tries to make Bunyip smile.

My Australian Christmas book review

It’s a fun book, with lovely images of bush animals – including the familiar faces of Josephine the dancing kangaroo, Pete the sheep and the diary writing wombat  (all previous Jackie French and Bruce Whatley co-creations).  inside pages of "Emily's Bush Christmas", showing emus and an echidna food holder! A great Australian story

Bunyip is grumpy so does not appreciate the attempts of Emily Emu and her friends to cheer him up – “Bunyips DON’T like Christmas!” – yet Emily keeps on trying.

It is a fun story that shows care for others and blends in the major features of Christmas (food, presents, carols, togetherness, friendship). All in a uniquely Australian way!

Both my children enjoyed it – my son’s favourite parts were the echidnas (one was wearing a swimming ring while another read the safety rules!) but was disappointed the Bunyip didn’t have bits of all Aussie animals such as a ‘roo tail. My six year old enjoyed it but when asked if it was because of the Aussie animals, she said “No, it was about Christmas!”

And to ensure adults can also enjoy this book, there are some jokes hidden in the pictures (like an Emu offering flying lessons!)

Eventually, the friends come together to celebrate their Bush Christmas.

Would I recommend Emily’s Bush Christmas? Most definitely! It is fun, beautifully illustrated, quirky and Australian. Emily deserves to be on all Christmas bookshelves!