Monday, 18 November 2013

Ferret on the Loose

Ferret on the Loose by Heather Gallagher, illustrated by Benjamin Johnston (New Frontier Publishing)
PB RRP $12.95
ISBN – 9781921928420
Reviewed by Emma Cameron

Lucy hopes all the training she’s done with Flash will see him win the Annual Fastest Fearless Ferret Race. Elisha, Lucy’s nemesis, wants her ferret Bad Boy Blue to win. He stands a good chance. Sable, who Li owns, is fast but no real threat to either Lucy or Elisha’s entries. Due to falling asleep during races, Mr Olfart’s dopey Sadie will never win. He tells Lucy Flash might, with better training. He’s desperate to win a title he’s never won before.

While training, Flash is injured. Mr Goodo, the vet, prescribes pain killers, banning training for a week. Feeling sorry for him, Lucy lets Flash out of his cage at home. He bolts. After a chase around the house he launches himself into Lucy’s arms and she takes him to the next training session so he can watch. She arrives early. The only one there yet is Mr Olfart. He goads her into letting Flash have a practice race against Sadie with, “What are you: chicken?”

Not long before race day, Flash disappears. No matter how much Dad, Lucy and her friend Penny search, he’s nowhere to be found. On race day, Lucy goes to watch. When Mr Olfart arrives with a new ferret named Mr Incredible as his entry, her sad mood turns to suspicion. His ferret wins and, with help from her brother and Penny, Lucy exposes Mr Olfart as a ferret-napper.

Mr Olfart is banned from racing for two years. Lucy’s ferret is, fairly, disqualified due to having been trained by someone else. To everyone’s delight, Mr Olfart is also punished by being placed on duty for the job nobody likes. Yes, cleaning up the poo after each race. And Lucy says having Flash back is the best prize of all.

This straight-forward, easy to follow tale presents good lessons in fairness and inappropriate behaviour. Like all titles in the Little Rockets series its high quality paper contains well-spaced text and colourful illustrations that break up its ten chapters. Readers aged 7+ are likely to enjoy it very much.

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