The Coloured Echidna
State Library of Queensland, 2020
0-2yrs, 3-4yrs, 5-8yrs
AC Links/EYLFEYLF1, EYLF2, EYLF3, EYLF4, EYLF5, ACELT1575, ACELT1783, ACELT1580, ACELT1831, ACHASSK013, ACHASSK015
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- Art motifs
The endpapers feature a boldly coloured landscape with determined echidnas marching on a journey. The viewer is immediately engaged. What is happening here? The rhythmic storytelling style with its simple repetition and questions then capture the listener. A long time ago, a group of echidnas lived near the mountains. They were all black and white with a little grey, except for one—Coloured Echidna’s body matches the changing landscape. He worries about being different although his parents reassure him that they love him just the way he is. They advise that Wise Old Owl can explain why he is different, so Coloured Echidna sets off. Along the way he meets Black Crow, Goanna, Mother Emu and her two chicks. Each admires Coloured Echidna’s colours, but still he is unhappy and determined to find why he is different.
The full-page artwork features the lush, bold colours of the varying landscapes with textured strokes adding interest. Coloured Emu reflects each different landscape. Finally Coloured Emu reaches Wise Old Owl who reveals him that his colours were given to him by the Great Spirit, that they make people happy and that, in itself, makes him very special. Coloured Echidna now happily accepts his difference and aims to share his joyful colours wherever he goes. He realises that all the animals are beautiful just as they are, and he feels special just as he is.
There are 12 books in the First 5 Forever series developed by the Queensland Government to support families in promoting children’s literacy development from birth through five years. A range of subjects and varying artistic styles showcase writers and artists with a Queensland connection. The State Library of Queensland’s black&write! editorial team supported this development. More information is available at wwwslq.qld.gov.au/first5forever.
Eunice Day is an Elder in Backwater, Queensland. She is a Lama Lama and Yimen Eaglehawk woman and her tribal name is Una Kanji.
Series title: First 5 Forever
- ABC News, ‘Indigenous author's work part of Queensland State Library's push to promote diverse stories for children’ by Jasmine Hines, 9 December 2020 https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-09/indigenous-childrens-author-state-library-qld-first-5-forever/12961104
- State Library of Queensland, SoundCloud reading of ‘The Coloured Echidna’ https://soundcloud.com/user-421634801/10-echidna-08112020-stereo/s-ZTSNUfWQWkf
- Review by Liz Anelli of ‘The Coloured Echidna’ by Eunice Day, Reading Time, 3 January 2021 http://readingtime.com.au/the-coloured-echidna/
- May Gibbs website, Australian Animal Christmas Craft – Echidna Decoration, 25 November 2020 https://maygibbs.org/news/echidna-decoration/
- Australian Museum, ‘Rock engraving of an echidna’ by Helen Wheeler, 3 December 2019 https://australian.museum/learn/cultures/atsi-collection/australian-archaeology/indigenous-rock-engraving-of-an-echidna/
- Bush Heritage Australia, Short-beaked echidna https://www.bushheritage.org.au/species/echidna?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIleqy5rOT8QIVk6uWCh3PXADxEAMYASAAEgLW8fD_BwE