‘Aboriginal people have a tradition of storytelling that extends over thousands and thousands of years. I was brought up in a family where storytelling was an important part of our life.’ Sally Morgan is a descendent of the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of northwest Western Australia and respected visual artist and writer.
The ten stories in ‘The Flying Emu’ are not traditional, but drawn from her childhood or from those of children related to her. Accompanied by a glossary of words, each is set in the Australian bush and tells of animals, birds, planets or features of the landscape. These ‘trickster’ tales, in which an animal, child or spirit is duped and learns a valuable lesson, encourage respect, tolerance and compassionate understanding of others. The title story is about a vain emu who is fooled by a kookaburra; in ‘VIBS’, Nindi discovers that being part of the Very Important Birds Club doesn’t necessarily make you important; ‘The Cocky Who Loved Gossip’ learns to regret his loose tongue. Each is accompanied by a beautifully detailed painting which further explores these ideas. First published in 1992, this lively, humorous and inventive collection was Morgan’s first children’s book, later released in the Walker Classics series