Uncle Trev and His Whistling Bull by Jack Lasenby
Uncle Trev and His Whistling Bull by Jack Lasenby. Pub. Gecko Press, 2012.
This novel for primary and intermediate school children is a laugh from beginning to end. Uncle Trev is the human equivalent of Harry Wakatipu and he tells yarns that have a strong link with reality yet are miles off the planet.
The narrator is a bed ridden young boy suffering from a severe illness, who needs all the help and encouragement he can get. Uncle Trev is there to tell a wonderous range of yarns about life on the farm in back country New Zealand during the Great Depression.
He starts with the story of his whistling bull Hubert who can warble Pokarekare Ana and the Rose of Tralee among other songs. Hugely funny as are all the stories. Then he gets into his borrowing neighbour Gotta Henry as well as telling ghost stories from his family past.
Not only is the tongue firmly in the cheek but there are a lot of home truths about life and community on the farm in the 1930’s. A bonus is the character of the boy’s mother who Uncle Trev avoids like the plague. She considers Uncle Trev tells a “farrago of rubbish”. Look it up and see what it means.
Children need to hear stories of the past and get a good laugh out of them. How many children can resist hearing ghost stories in the dark?
I liked the stories and so will you.