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Posts Tagged ‘communities’

Great Grandma’s Shed. Marcum Road Follies by Helen Nickolson, illus. Tanya Maneki.

January 7, 2020 Comments off

Grandmas shedGreat Grandma’s Shed. Marcum Road Follies by Helen Nickolson, illus. Tanya Maneki. Pub. Adelaide books New York, 2019.

This is a collection of old time shaggy dog type stories for juniors, the sort of story that only a grandparent can tell their grand child.

Essential to the story is for the child to believe that a car-Old Red, can be a human like being that can share their lives and do things that adults can do. Once that is accepted the car becomes a friend and a person like anyone else. Indeed he is. He takes them to the movies, he gets sad, the children play tricks on him but he becomes an essential part of the community in the farming area of north California.

Old fashioned story telling in short stories. My favourite is the unruly cows who can do Irish dancing and pester grandma by dirtying up her yard.

There are also other characters like Cutie pie the dog and Teepo the duck. I found it a good laugh. Great illustrations especially those at the end of each story.

Rain Fall by Ella West.

January 15, 2018 Comments off

rain fallRain Fall by Ella West. Pub. Allen & Unwin, 2018.

When a teenage boy who “wouldn’t hurt a fly” empties a shotgun into the local police station and  blows his house up with plastic explosive while surrounded by the Armed Offenders squad, then disappears into the bush, you know something is dreadfully wrong.

Add to that a suspected murder and missing body and you have a mystery on your hands.

Fifteen year old Annie lives in Westport, just out of town and down the road from Pete the boy suspected of murder who used the shotgun and blew up his house. Annie loves horses and while exercising her horse Blue along the West Coast beach she meets a boy Jack, who is a rodeo star, a little older than her, and whose father is a detective sent from over the hill to investigate the crimes mentioned above.

Jack kisses Annie, her first kiss, and romance blossoms but around them the community is falling apart. What is going on? Read it and find out.

The rain soaked West Coast becomes another character in this novel that chronicles the effects that mine closures and job losses have on a community. Set near the Stockton mine, Annie’s father drives the coal train from Stockton to Otira and becomes victim of the mine closures. The whole community is stressed.

Up to date account of a real situation. The descriptions of the rain and the Coast environment are superb and the tensions created by the murder make great reading.

A worthy follow up to Ella West’s hit novel Night Vision which is reviewed on this blog and has the most hits of any novel on it. Intermediate and high school readers will enjoy this.

So Many Wonderfuls by Tina Matthews.

January 21, 2015 Comments off

many wonderfulsSo Many Wonderfuls by Tina Matthews. Pub Walker Books, 2014.

A positive look at a small town community and all it’s services created in sepia ink and digital media illustrations

The front inside cover shows the town of Wonderful in the morning as the town wakes up and the back inside cover shows the town at night when everyone is asleep and the moon shines down.

In between we see the children at school, at play, in the mobile library, at the park, and beneath the stars at a family meal. The message is community.

The mix of sepia drawings and digital images works well and the detail will have children pouring over the illustrations to see what is going on. The scene inside the mobile library is a gem.

The only negative is the written text is sometimes rhyming, sometimes not but always positive.

View from the 32nd Floor by Emma Cameron

July 1, 2013 Comments off

32nd floorView from the 32nd Floor by Emma Cameron. Pub.Walker Books, 2013.

A lovely little story this about community and the positive role that children can have on old people and old people can have on children.

William Roland lives on the 32nd floor of an apartment block and his friend Rebecca lives on the same floor but in the building next door. They see each other across the gap and become friends.

Both children have their quirks with William changing his name everyday by combining meaningful names from different languages. Every chapter tells of todays name and the meanings in their own language. Rebecca has a walking deformity which is accepted by everybody and is not an issue in her life.

Both children are interested in the other tenants that share their buildings, most of them old and lonely. The contact that they have with the old people has a positive affect on all their lives.

Drama and expectation is maintained throughout by the reactions of the old people to the children and their efforts to get everybody involved. I hope I live in such a community when I am old.

Gently written by Emma Cameron whose book Cinnamon Rain is also one of my favourites and previewed elsewhere on this blog.

Primary and Intermediate in appeal but we can all enjoy this gem.