Reviewed by Valentina Plisko
by Colin Thiele
New Holland Publishers
ISBN: 9781864368048, 1st November 2002
This story is about a young boy called Storm Boy, and his pelican friends: “Storm Boy lived between the Coorong and the sea. His home was the long, long snout of sandhills and scrub that curves away south-eastwards.”
Colin Thiele depicts this landscape perfectly. He pulls me in because I live near Goolwa and I know the Coorong and this part of the Murray River.
The story starts when some hunters shoot some wild pelicans and Storm Boy finds an abandoned nest of three baby pelicans. He raises them to become big adult pelicans.
Thiele makes me think that Storm Boy is real and that I’ve seen him before: he is that believable. The way he writes about the characters makes you feel connected to them. Storm Boy loves and cares for nature with all his heart. When he found the baby pelicans, he said desperately: “He mustn’t die. He mustn’t. He mustn’t.” I can see a bit of myself in Storm Boy: I love the beach, I’m very adventurous and I love helping animals.
Fingerbone Bill is the Aboriginal character in the story who cares for the Coorong and understands the nature and the landscape. He hates the shooters: “Dem bad fellows kill big pelican.”
The character Hideaway Tom cares a lot about his son, and he loves fishing. “Anyone would think that I was grandfather pelican” said Hideaway, “by the way they always turn to me for food.”
The other main characters are of course the pelicans: Mr. Proud, who thinks he owns the place; Mr. Ponder, who is very wise and serious; and the most famous of all, Mr. Percival, who is the sick baby pelican (and is secretly Storm Boy’s favourite).
Once the pelicans become fully grown, Hideaway Tom makes Storm Boy set them free in the wildlife, even though he is sad and reluctant to do this.
But after they return from setting them free, one of the pelicans (I’m not telling you which one) is waiting for them and… (you will just have to read it to find out! )
Colin Thiele evokes strong emotions from the reader because he writes the right things at the right moments. He also has action after action, so the storyline doesn’t get boring. He creates intriguing characters, and how he describes them so well and how much emotion he puts into it really catches me. If you are anything like me, you will get connected to the characters too and you will understand how they feel and think.
I love reading Storm Boy over and over again. I give it 5 stars. I would recommend this story for all ages because if you were too young to read yet, someone could read it to you, and you would still love the story. I wouldn’t make any changes to this book, it is just too good. I wish I was Storm Boy and maybe, you will too.
About the reviewer: Valentina Plisko was commended in the Hunter Writers Centre/Compulsive Reader review competition.