Monday 15 May 2017

Looking Up

Looking Up by Sally Murphy, illustrated by Aska (Fremantle Press) PB RRP $14.99
ISBN 9781925164572

Reviewed by Teena Raffa-Mulligan

Award-winning WA author Sally Murphy’s latest junior fiction release about a boy who receives an unexpected birthday surprise is sure to become a read-again favourite with young readers.

Pete is desperately hoping for a telescope for his tenth birthday. There’s nothing he wants more. But when a card arrives in the mail from the granddad Pete didn’t know he had, it changes everything.

There are questions Pete wants answered. Mum won’t explain so he decides to find out for himself who this mysterious grandfather is and see if he can become part of their life.

Murphy writes with insight and warmth about family relationships. All her characters are vividly drawn and come to life on the page. From the opening lines I was seeing events unfold through Pete’s eyes, yet also feeling a strong empathy for Mum and her estranged father.

Readers aged six to eight years will have no difficulty connecting with Pete, who loves stargazing and solving mysteries.

Aska’s full-page mono illustrations accompany each chapter and complement the text beautifully. My favourite is Mum and Pete lying hand in hand on the trampoline, deep in discussion about recent events. 

Murphy’s verse novel Pearl Verses the World won an Indie Book of the Year award in 2009, was made a Children’s Book Council of Australia Honour Book in 2010, and won a Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Award (Best Book for Language Development, Upper Primary) in 2010.

Her book Toppling won a Queensland Premier’s Literary Award and a Western Australian Premier’s Book Award in 2010. It was also shortlisted for a Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Award in 2010 and was made a Children’s Book Council of Australia Notable Book in 2011.
Looking Up deserves to garner the same level of critical acclaim and reader popularity.

Teaching notes are available from 

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