Trouble at Home by Cate Whittle, illustrated by Kim Gamble (Omnibus Books) PB RRP $9.99
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop
When Georgia’s family home was stolen – with baby brother Godfrey inside – she saw it happen. But no-one believes that she witnessed a dragon swoop down and fly off with the house and Godfrey. So Georgia and her brother Henry go in search of the dragon, following the only clues they have -- sarsaparilla and potato chip crumbs. But even if they find the dragon, can he be persuaded to give up their house and brother?
This is a fun story about family unity and a troublesome dragon. While the family can make do without the house by cooking on the barbeque and sleeping in the garden shed or car, they do miss Godfrey. And Georgia’s teacher doesn’t believe she actually did her project (or that a dragon carried it off with the house) and Mum is very weepy (being constantly worried about Godfrey).
Georgia’s voice is fresh, young and very entertaining. She is a spunky girl, determined and full of bravado when she faces the dragon. The secondary characters are well rounded, too, especially Henry and the dragon. Dragon is a huge personality; he and Georgia play off each other delightfully.
‘Now what are we supposed to do?’ I said, feeling a bit crazy.
The dragon looked thoughtful.
‘I could make you a cup of tea,’ he suggested.
‘...But you just stole our house!’
‘The cave was getting a bit dull.’
‘Our house!’ I repeated.
The dragon shrugged, his big wings shuddering. ‘I always take what I want. I have to. What else can I do?’
‘You don’t even fit inside!’ I shouted, while Henry tugged my arm.
‘Georgia,’ he whispered, ‘you’re shouting at a dragon.’
Of course, he had missed the bit where I had – possibly- vanquished the dragon in the staring contest, because he had fainted.
Enhancing this text are the illustrations of Kim Gamble, who many will recognise from the hugely popular Tashi series. These pictures show not only the action, but also give clues to the emotions and motivations of the characters.
They also help to create an appealing chapter book which is a great tale for boys and girls seven and up. Trouble at Home is the start of a new series so there will be plenty more adventures with Georgia and Dragon to be enjoyed.