Sunday, 6 July 2014

Going Bush With Grandpa

Going Bush With Grandpa by Sally Morgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina, illustrated by Craig Smith (Omnibus Books for Scholastic Australia)
PB RRP $9.99
ISBN 978-1-74299-026-2
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Pete and his Grandpa are going camping in the bush. They both love to prospect for gold and with Grandpa's new metal detector they are sure to find some. Enough even, for a holiday in the city. Pete would love to go to Perth to watch a footy match.
But on the camping trip Pete learns about more than prospecting. There is so much more to the bush experience than gold. There's unexpected wildlife, fire-side tales, singing lessons and Grandpa's cooking. And with all the other bits of metal and junk in the ground will the super duper metal detector detect any gold before it's time to head home?
Going Bush With Grandpa is a lovely story about a boy's relationship with his grandfather. It is about the passing on of wisdom and the gentle lessons of nature and the bush. And it's about patience and persistence in the search for gold nuggets.
The dialogue is wonderfully colloquial with the atmosphere of the Aussie bush strongly present.
Beautifully written, the humour is subtle and the characters are the star of this story. Grandpa serves another tinned curry for dinner but noting that Pete is a growing boy, 'I had better give you some green vegetables too.' He stirs in a tin of peas.
The illustrations reflect this gentle humour between Grandpa and Pete as well. When Grandpa 'lets me swing the metal detector back and forth' the picture shows Pete enthusiastically in control of the detector while Grandpa sits back on a log having a drink.
This is a lovely family tale, wonderfully told, with gentle lessons about life. Short sentences, short chapters and simple, universal concepts make this a great book for young readers. It would also be a great read aloud book for five and six year olds. Many children, boys and girls, will be caught up in the bush experience and hunting for gold.

This is the first in a series of chapter books to be written by Sally Morgan and Ezekiel Kwaymullina based on indigenous children, country and family. I look forward to the next title One Rule.

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