Saturday 10 December 2022

One Thousand Snapshots

One Thousand Snapshots by Steve Heron (Shawline Publishing Group) PB RRP $16.95 ISBN: 9781922594747

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

Haunted by a car accident that killed her father four years earlier, Maddy is determined to capture every important part of her life through the lens of her Instamatic camera. But photos are static, and life is not. Changes wrought by puberty, her mother’s new partner, friendship dramas, and a boy she likes are beginning to take their toll. Can Maddy ride the churning tide of emotions and arrive at a calm harbour of belonging and contentment?

Ideal for kids aged ten and older, One Thousand Snapshots is a charming ode to growing up in Western Australia. Steve Heron replicates the regional language beautifully (for example, with the use of ‘dardy’ to mean ‘cool’), and there are nods to local Indigenous words as well (djidi djidi, the Noongar name for the willie wagtail). Repeated references to AFL football also add a sporty WA flavour.

The first-person narrative invites tweens into Maddy’s moiling mind, revealing the depth of her fears and the strength of her desires. This builds an understanding of and empathy for the struggling protagonist, and ensures that the reader quickly becomes invested in seeing Maddy succeed in all areas of her life.

Thought-provoking and poignant, One Thousand Snapshots is a wonderfully Australian take on growing up. Its underlying message of hope will buoy young readers who, like Maddy, are dealing with the turbulence of difficult transitions.

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