Welcome Little Scrubfowl written by Sandra Kendell
Published by Windy Hollow Books
Welcome Little Scrubfowl opens with a stunning cover, depicting a baby scrubfowl emerging from its mound, surrounded by some very distinctly Australian and tropical flowers. The colours are so vibrant and eye catching, I was immediately drawn to the beauty of this book.
We begin with the young narrator, who lives at the top end of Australia, on a house on legs. I loved the description of the house in the eyes of a child, and the illustration gives us not just a visual of the house, but a sense of exactly where the narrator lives on the Australian map.
He goes on to tell us about the garden where he lives, and how his mum describes it as “Rampant”. The accompanying illustration is vivid. The luscious green garden is filled with Australian native animals, and as I read this with my little girl, she had great fun pointing out every single one of them.
His mum plants veggie seedlings, and without fail the next morning they are all scratched up. His mum tells him it is a scrubfowl. The little narrator hears it singing in the night, and his mum tells him the birds are courting. He mistakes courting for a king’s court and the accompanying illustration depicts the birds as king and queen of the garden.
His mum tells him the birds will build a mound, and when sticks appear in his back garden, he once again mistakes his mum’s words, as he imagines the scrubfowl driving a tractor to build the mound.
Hi mum explains the mound is where the female will lay her eggs, and the heat of the mound will keep the eggs warm, until the scrub fowl hatches and digs its way out. The little narrator worries for the tiny bird. He wonders if the green tree frog and the tata lizard will help him out.
As the book comes to a close the narrator delights as he watches the scrubfowl growing and once again, we come full circle, when we hear mum yell, “something is scratching up my seedlings again.”
This was a beautiful book that takes us effectively on a journey of the life cycle of a scrub fowl. I loved how the little narrator made assumptions based on his mum’s words, and we got to see a variety of wonderful Australian animals in his journey along the way, as well as finding out the unique nesting habits of this truly magnificent bird.
The end pages of the book have a fascinating non-fiction explanation by Don Franklin, about Megapodias Reinwardt, or as we now know, the Orange Footed Scrubfowl.
I found this book entertaining as well as truly enlightening.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Sandra Kendell
Title: Welcome Little Scrubfowl
Publisher: Windy Hollow Books
Published: August 2013