Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Amazing Spencer Gray

The Amazing Spencer Gray by Deb Fitzpatrick (Fremantle Press)
PB RRP $14.95
ISBN 9-781-922-089-489328
Reviewed by Neridah McMullin

Spencer Gray is twelve – finally old enough to join Dad in his glider. His mates are going to be so jealous!

Going up is awesome.  Spencer can’t believe they’re actually there; can’t believe he and his dad are flying in an aircraft with no engine high above the earth, the paddocks green and yellow squares below them. Crazy.

And, as it turns out, it is.

When disaster strikes the glider mid-flight, Spencer will need to be nothing short of amazing.
Spencer is a funny, self-effacing and engaging character who will connect and be well liked by the upper primary readership.

All is going swimmingly well in Spencer’s until one day, when he and his Dad are out gliding a freak storm blows up and the glider is flipped by strong winds and smashed into the side of a mountain. Spencer’s Dad is badly hurt and drifting in and out of consciousness and their location isolated and thick with scrub.

It’s irresistible not to put yourself in Spencer’s shoes (I did!). How’s he going to cope? It would be so hard to know how you would react under such circumstances.

Spencer, however, is calm and logical and clear headed in his approach to the situation, weighing up all his options for rescue, how to make his Dad more comfortable, how to patch that nasty gash on his head, and his knee at a funny angle – don’t even go there! You can really feel Spencer’s fear and uncertainty and you know that he’s trying really hard to be brave. You go this journey with Spencer to get help and he does an ‘amazing’ job to achieve what he does.

Spencer copes admirably albeit he ends up with a bit of posttraumatic shock after the event.
This story is told warmly and with humour and would be a terrific read for 12 years + readers. I highly recommend this book.

Neridah McMullin is the author of three books for children. Her latest book is an Indigenous folklore story called 'Kick it to Me!' It’s an ‘aussie rules’ story endorsed by the Australian Football League. Neridah loves family, footy and doing yoga with her cat Carlos (who also just happens to love footy!)

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