Trouble in the Surf – Stephanie Owen Reeder and Briony Stewart



9780642279460National Library of Australia

October 2019

Publisher:   National Library of Australia
Edition:   1st Edition
ISBN:   9780642279460

RRP: $24.99

Stephanie Owen Reeder always excels at creating engaging narratives that are underwritten with historical facts and this picture book is no exception.

To all intents and purposes it is merely the story of two cousins who go swimming at Bondi Beach back in 1907. Charlie and Rupert have a grand time in the surf until the rip catches Charlie and there is an almost disaster. Luckily there are some stalwarts who are able to rescue Charlie and a bystander nurse is able to resuscitate him. Very much a gripping adventure but when Charlie’s full name is revealed at the end of the story, the reader is certainly bound to be surprised and also to conjecture on the ‘what if’ had that rescue not been a success.

The book concludes with some terrific information about Charlie and Rupert as adults, Nurse Sadie Sweeney, Surf Life Saving in Australia, surf safety and Bondi Surf Lifesavers as well as a very useful glossary.

The illustrations are just glorious – and the endpapers that make my heart sing! – and perfectly capture the atmosphere of the time period.

Whether as part of a unit of work focused on Australian history, surf safety, iconic figures in our nation’s heritage or just as a fabulous read-aloud, I highly recommend this for your kiddos from around 7 years upwards.

Find teaching resources here


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