Author: Mem Fox Illustrator: Pamela Lofts
This is Aussie sweetness between two covers. Fox is iconic in producing home-grown classics and Lofts has delivered beautiful illustrations which truly bring the story to life.
A bilby finds an egg and treasures it like a best friend/partner or a child. The egg doesn't hatch, it is really a stone. The point is that love follows no rules, that anything is worthy of affection and that selfless giving is a great thing. Children do this all the time with their toys: projecting their affection and care onto inanimate objects and taking comfort in their mere existence, rather than expecting a reciprocal 'payback' for time and effort, which the harsher adult world so commonly demands.
The other animals peppering the book add their two cents to Hunwick's developing one-sided relationship... and suffice to say it is probably the voice of the softly judgemental adult they express. Hunwick shines through, however, choosing his own path, choosing his own happiness, which is, as should be, individual choice.
Every page is filled with outback Australiana. Indeed, Lofts lived in Alice Springs, so the flora and fauna she depicts was on her doorstep. For city children who see most of our native creatures only in pictures or at the zoo, this is a lovely book to use to discuss what dwells beyond the urban.
I can't help but also mention the egg motif. This book far surpasses any chocolate egg you may want to gift at Easter, having a native bilby and stone egg being the stars of the story.
Where to buy: Most places in Oz, online elsewhere.