Rain Stones by Jackie French, (Harper Collins) PB RRP $16.99
Reviewed by Karen Hendriks
The 25th anniversary edition of Rain Stones was recently released. It is Jackie French’s debut book, a collection of five short stories that have a unique Australian flavour. The stories, with a strong environmental theme, show a great love for our country. The imaginative and thought-provoking writing draws primary school aged readers into a world of adventure and freedom.
'Rain Stones tells of the hardship of drought and the desperate need for water: our hard dry land can be a tough place to live in. ‘Afternoon with Grandma’ touches on Alzheimer’s, dreams and determination. ‘Jacob Saw’ warmly shows there are ways to see other than with one’s eyes. ‘Dancing with Dinosaurs’ cleverly imagines the rolling hills of Canberra as dinosaurs come to life in their nightly dance. In ‘Dusty the Dragon’ a magical dragon is hidden in a sleepy bush valley.
There is a touchingly warm afterword from French about how her writing journey started and about the inspiration for each story. The first story, ‘Rain Stones’, French says, written out of a desperate need for income as well as to express her passion for writing. Needless to say French’s talent shone through and her writing career took off.
Today’s children will enjoy the stories as they still manage to connect and touch readers.
The book is handy for teachers looking for stories that are distinctly Australian to share in their classrooms. These stories will surely lead to much discussion about what it means to be an Australian.