The book touches on such things as life after retirement, on the dangers of making snap judgements based on appearances, and on learning to keep an open mind and heart. Above all this is a beautifully written heart-warming tale that will appeal to children and adults alike as they discover Pete’s secret.
What really sets this simple story apart from the rest is the illustrative style. Pratt has overlayed black and white photographs of Victorian landmarks with eye-catching coloured depictions of Riley and his menagerie. At each location Riley reveals yet another masterful invention to help with his search—everything from: automated whiz-bang ground-hugging projectiles to fandangled hifalutin patented doodads.
Having your children make their own teacher gifts would pay for the cost of the book, and would also be a lovely way to encourage them to participate and take pleasure in gift giving in a way that just doesn’t happen with bought gifts. Come to think of it, there’s no reason why your children couldn’t make their own holiday and birthday presents either, as well as cooking up their own parties.
In a world where kids are used to the kill or be killed mentality of video games, it’s a pleasure to find a story that demonstrates how the most obvious solution to a problem is not necessarily the best. So, too, it demonstrates creativity and compassion, and shows readers how that which is evident on the surface is not necessarily what lies beneath.
Fison’s writing is fresh, tight and easily absorbed. Action and humour abound, and are the reasons this series works so well. While the message in these books is clear, it isn’t in any way preachy—nor is the humour forced. The child characters are all well-developed, each with a distinct personality, which is something all too often glazed over in such short fiction.
After reading the above, one might be forgiven for thinking this is nothing more than an entertaining story aimed at an electronic game-mad audience. But don’t be fooled, Gamers’ Challenge is far more than that. What this story does is challenge our notions of reality. It raises all the big existential questions, offers some answers and then turns everything on its head.
Above all though, this is a book about courage, and Phoebe’s courage is present throughout the book, in her refusal to allow injustice, and her instinctual responses to danger and discord. Once again, Justin D’Ath has created an inspiring and engaging book that young readers will enjoy and parents will welcome (a combination that doesn’t always happen in sync!).
Author of the award-winning Mending Lucille, Poulter has constructed a pacy tale with an uplifting twist at the end—a story that young children will have no trouble relating to. Told in rhyme, which, of course, kids love, this is a story that at its heart is about family, highlighting such concepts as co-operation and cause and effect.
The Australian bush is vividly described as the team goes on their little quest, taking the reader through swimming holes, caves and Eucalyptus forests. Children will love little Pirate best of all, conjuring up the little barking bird in their imaginations – which makes a nice change from the video screens and televisions that tend to take over the modern household.
Jasper Jones remains a nobody – the silent, disappearing hero in Charlie’s life, but he is also heroic – the catalyst to change and growth. Although there are dark edges to Jasper Jones, this is a wonderful, beautifully written, positive story of personal transformation which lingers with the reader.