Tag Archives: Legends

Astonishingly Good Stories – R. A. Spratt

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Penguin Australia

August 2022

  • ISBN: 9780143779261
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $19.99
The freakishly fantastic, amazingly awesome, insanelycompletelybonkerscrazyasafox terrifically talented R. A. Spratt is one of my favouritest authors and purveyors of outrageous snortles*, and well she knows it. She has perhaps been wondering why it has taken me so long to write this review of her latest blisteringly brilliant collection but in my defence I have this to say. I read the entire book cover to cover quite swiftly after it’s arrival but since then I have had it in my ‘relief teaching’ bag whereupon it has made an appearance on several occasions to entertain, amuse and, more importantly, educate some of the finest young minds in Queensland (if not the country).

Now with a day off at my disposal, due to having no voice left with which to teach, I am trying to catch up with reviews, and really it is dead lucky I had already read this latest volume, because there is no doubt that strenuous laughing of the Spratt-induced kind would further reduce my vocal capabilities, so that it would be unlikely to recover them at all within the next week – – and really, where would that leave my adoring fans? (ok, I’m starting to sound like Nanny Piggins now – possibly overdoing the cold&flu meds).

This is a gorgeously galumptious smorgasbord which I can verify will appeal to a wide range of readers of discerning tastes (and as it happens, some who claim to be non-readers). Whether some Nanny Piggins (gosh, how I admire that porcine legend!) providing great insights into famous myths, legends and other historical tales, a mini Friday Barnes mystery or a completely bogus story about big sisters (which reeks heavily of the author’s own household), kiddos from around Year 4 will roll about on the floor with delight with the completely over-the-top antics and adventures herein. I am truly devastated that I no longer have my Year 9 terrorists -I mean, English classes – because after their unit of work on Romeo & Juliet, (their introduction to Shakespeare – now I could definitely write a book on that experience!) I would have loved to share with them the Nanny Piggins version of the Bard’s tragedy.

Honestly, you’d be mad to leave it off your orders list – so get cracking and buy it before the business manager cuts off your budget for the year! Highly recommended for all lovers of the absurd from around Year 4 upwards.

*snortle:  A hearty laugh that is punctuated by a snort on the inhale.

The Mulberry Tree – Allison Rushby

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Walker Booksmulberry

ISBN: 9781760650292
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
Release Date: July 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $17.99
New Zealand RRP: $19.99

 

Immy is not well pleased at moving to England from Sydney. Her mother has a new job which carries some prestige, but her father is floundering – his previous career as a GP slaughtered by a tragedy. Their transition to Cambridgeshire is hindered by a narrow choice of rental properties but Immy decides on a thatched cottage that has a rather dark history and her parents are happy to go along with her choice in deference to her resistance to the entire move.

According to village legend, the huge mulberry tree in the garden of their cottage has already ‘stolen’ two girls on the eve of their eleventh birthday – and as Immy is about to turn eleven there is a hushed fear that the same will happen to her. But Immy is made of stern stuff and even while railing at her parents over the move – and her father’s depression – she refuses to give into fear over the tree’s influence.  Although, the strange ‘chant/song’ she keeps hearing is rather unnerving. Along the way, unexpectedly Immy makes friends of varying ages and discovers special bonuses in living in a new environment.

This is a fabulously ‘spooky’ story – not confronting to the extent that it would totally freak young readers out, but in that deliciously creepy way that demands the reading is page-turning.

It appears this is quite a skill for Allison Rushby. This telling of a story that is somewhat dark and certainly weird but not enough to scare the pants of kids – which is of course a real drawcard.

Boys and girls of around ten years upwards will love this story with its beautifully drawn characters – and in this I include the mulberry tree.

I highly recommend this for upper primary/lower secondary readers and look forward to Allison’s further writing.