This is one of the first books for children recognising the significance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Astronomy in food collection and agricultural production. The diversity of Aboriginal cultures reflects different interpretations of the star constellations and the stories associated with them.
Emus were the creator spirits that used to fly and look over the land. The emu in the sky is shown in the dark space between the stars of the Milky Way, its position in the sky telling when to collect emu eggs. Stories of the Sun, the Moon, and the Morning Star show how Aboriginal people used the stars to understand the seasons and when to plant crops. Many of the stars started off as human forms, including the story of the Seven Sisters (Pleiades). The Maya-Mayi sisters were so beautiful that every man who ever saw one wished that he could marry one or even two of them. In D’Arcy’s retelling the warrior Warrumma kidnaps two of the sisters who escape his clutches by climbing a pine tree that continues to grow up into the night sky where they join the rest of their sisters. Scott Towney’s illustrations include a diagram of the Summer and Winter Skies, inviting a comparison with the Greek and Roman stories about the major constellations. Dale Huddleston’s cover illustration shows the emu sitting on her eggs, against a luminous night sky.