cover image Big Red Kangaroo

Big Red Kangaroo

Claire Saxby, illus. by Graham Byrne. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7075-7

First-time illustrator Bryne’s digitally enhanced charcoals offer haunting depictions of a male kangaroo and his mob in the Australian outback. Scraggly trees take on a charred look, while a blue-black night sky contrasts with a barren, white ground to create an almost lunar landscape. Saxby takes a subdued, lyrical approach to the way the animals interact with their environment: “The heat eases with the approaching nightfall. It is breakfast time for Red’s mob. Around them, the night orchestra begins. Red rises and leads his mob beyond the shadow line in search of grasses.” Italicized paragraphs provide further information about kangaroo behavior (“Red kangaroos are most active at dusk and dawn”), and other Australian animals make appearances, including wallaroos and thorny devils. An understated but visually arresting portrait of a species. Ages 5–8. (Jan.)