One day, in a little town not so far away, a platypus egg was found and brought to the local zoo. But suddenly…the egg rolled, and rolled, and rolled until…
CRAAACK! EEE! Squealed the pig. Moo, bellowed the cow. “Eee-Moo! Announced the platypus a moment later. “He’s an emu, of course,” said the horse. “What’s an emu doing here?” asked the owl. “He’s very far away from home.” “He should take a bus,” suggested the chicken. “At the very least, confirmed the owl. So, EEE-Moo the emu, who was actually a platypus, set off on his journey to Australia, land of the emu—home to Eee-Moo?
Eee-Moo suffers from a sad case of Curious George malaise. He is stolen—still in egg form—to a distant land to become a part of a zoo’s collection. However, when the egg slides away from the zoo’s anthropomorphized watchdog and into an Australian barn, Eee-Moo is born to a mistaken identity. Donning the same explorers cap as Curious George’s “man in the yellow hat”, he sets off on an adventure to find his home. In the long tradition of children’s tales, Eee-Moo wears a hat, sporting an otherwise nude body, to show that he is a part of this anthropomorphized good society too.
Eee-Moo takes all modern society’s modes of transportation—from planes, trains and automobiles to even a moped—to find his family. Upon arrival to the land of the emu, he realizes he is not who he thinks he is. It is only the Koala, that is not wearing clothes and is truly part of nature, who recognizes Eee-Moo as a platypus and brings him to his parents. For all of civilization’s amazing technologies, it took nature’s intuition to reunite Eee-Moo with where he belonged. He travelled all this way when he was home this entire time.
This junior picture book tries to explore the nature of leaving a new country or culture and striving to return to your roots—a tale that tries to highlight that home is where your family and (newfound) friends are. This message may become muddled for small children, but Won’s illustrations add such vibrancy that they will engage readers till the end of the tale. Libraries and classrooms will probably enjoy this fun caper – just do not expect the excitement or nuance found in other contemporary children’s books on the subject.
Lonnie Freedman is a Youth Services Librarian at Vaughan Public Libraries in Ontario.