Showing posts with label Claire Stuckey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Claire Stuckey. Show all posts

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Bruno The Boisterous Blue Dog from the Bush

Bruno The Boisterous Blue Dog from the Bush by Robyn Osborne, illustrated by John Phillips (Big Sky Publishing) PB RRP 24.99 ISBN 9781925675504

Reviewed by Claire Stuckey

Bruno is a boisterous blue dog from the bush who shares a very distinct outback lifestyle with Bob. This is a very alliterative tale which celebrates mateship and relies on colloquial language of the Australian bush.

Reminiscent of Footrot Flats books and comics, the illustrations may entice adults to share the title and children to pick up the book. Once introduced in their bush setting, the story continues in the city after Bob wins " a few bucks " on the races and travels around Australia only to realise that "the bush no longer seemed bonzer." After some high living in the city complete with butler, Bruno begins demolishing the apartment so "Bob blew his block " but the pair reconcile after Bob's accidental fall from the balcony. The buddies return to the bush once more somewhere near Bandywallop.   

With so much alliteration I wonder how children will cope with the text, although parents may find the text dated, with teams like ‘bully beef’ and ‘Bonox’. The story requires some intonation to achieve the intended humour so that teachers and librarians may find the book useful to encourage reluctant readers.   

This book is difficult to recommend for a specific age range as it is a picture book with text and concepts suitable for an older reader perhaps 7-10 years.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Crafty Science

Crafty Science by Jane Bull (Dorling Kindersley) PB RRP $19.95 ISBN 9780241353455

Reviewed by Claire Stuckey

This bright hardcover publication continues the useful and factual format of the non-fiction DK range. Parents and librarians recognise this long-standing range that continues to provide clear and concise information in a durable format. Building on previous publications it contains past, and new science projects that focus on STEAM, the science and technology components of the UK and Australian curriculums.

Each project contains bright step by step instructions with a framed "What's the science?" paragraph in simple text explaining the concepts as well as an equipment list. As with all the high-quality DK information range this title by award winning author contains a contents page, rear index and glossary. 

Although this title repeats many well-known projects the updated format with additional STEAM links provides a great title to use at home. the variety of projects will engage a range of interests. A valuable addition to public and school libraries it also would aid Home-school or distance education families. Aimed at middle and upper primary ages, many of the projects require adult supervision and planning to purchase resources.  

The only small issue in this new title is the use of dark red and green text boxes for some of "What's the science?" paragraphs which might be difficult to read for children who have colour blindness.  

Monday, 3 September 2018

Water Hole

Water Hole By Fiona Bell (UQP) RRP $24.99   ISBN 9780702259999

Reviewed by Claire Stuckey

Sunny is grieving for her mum recently killed in a car crash and blaming her stepdad. As the story opens she prepares to leave school to return the farm for school holidays. Sunny and Kevin do not communicate but ague, both grief- stricken in their own ways. Confused by "sightings" of her mother and the real sense that she feels her mother's presence, Sunny shies away from sharing her thoughts and feelings.

Motivated to help find a lost boy, she joins other searches in the bush land near the Waterhole. Many have died in the strong currents and this is where she sees her mother beckoning her. Falling hard, Sunny wakes in hospital but finds the concussion makes her more unsteady and venerable. She resolves to find the missing boy or his body, believing that he is already dead. Incidents and evidence lead the community to believe her stepfather Kevin was responsible, and Sunny agrees. Seeking answers to many questions including the identity of her natural father, she spends more time at the waterhole where she meets teenage Matt whom she finds attractive and interesting. 

When she tries to leave town, even more secrets are revealed. Sunny is isolated and confused, her relationship with Matt strained.  Returning to the waterhole, she faces a tragic and confronting encounter. 

This book explores the dynamics of grief. Rural life and small-town relationships serve as a backdrop to Sunny's struggle without a mother and with a stepfather she does not really know. 

The story also keeps you focused on the crime that we think has been committed. The supernatural element ties the story together keeping one guessing and ensures the reader empathises with the central character. This is a great young adult novel set in an Austrian country town. Back ground characters developed make relevant but not overdrawn players in this dramatic but very readable plot for ages 13 and up.