Posts Tagged ‘Lighthouses’

A Definitely Different Summer

By Elizabeth Pulford

ISBN 978198853893

Bateman Books

It is the summer holidays and Kathleen, AKA Cricket, has no choice but to go with her parents and stay on uninhabited Jacob’s Island. Her mother is there to write, and her father is there to study birds and insects, which leaves Cricket spending most of the time alone. Her fears of being bored change when strange things begin to happen.

Cricket’s interest in how the island got its name leads her on a journey of discovery about a shipwreck in 1881. The story is based on a real shipwreck off the coast of Invercargill where 131 people lost their lives. As the story weaves in and out, more information comes forth and Cricket is able to piece together certain events.

I loved this story for many reasons. Cricket is likeable, honest and funny. Her curiosity is what makes the story. When faced with having a classmate join her, her ability to learn from mistakes and make changes, comes across authentically. Another reason, is the mystery and the spooky happenings, in the wild, isolated landscape.

Shipwrecks are fascinating. When we think about them most people’s first thoughts are about the famous ship, Titanic. We think about why and how ships are wrecked, and about lives lost, and survivors too. This is why it was so is interesting to read about one off the shore of New Zealand.

This is a great read for readers nine and up who love a good story, with good mystery, and a little bit of spookiness. Or maybe a lot more spookiness!

Julia and the Shark

By Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Illustrated by Tom de Freston

I love this book.

This is the story of Julia, and her parents, who travel to a remote island lighthouse where dad can digitise the lighthouse and mum can search the surrounding sea for the elusive Greenland Shark. Noodles, Julia’s pet cat comes along for the adventure.

This book is heartfelt. Julia’s relationship with her mother is strained which creates much of the tension in the book. There are other causes of pain in this book too; bullying, mental health issues, and much of it is created through lack of communication and misunderstandings. There is an environmental aspect too.

The characters are believable and easy to connect with. When Julia’s best intentions to help her mother, go badly, she puts her own life, and Noodles, at risk. Danger is very real. However, one of the overall messages from Julia and the Shark, is that of hope.

The illustrations are beautiful. Black, whites and grey shades which have a moody, haunting quality. Watch out for the addition of yellow towards the end pictures. Symbolic and beautiful.

Look out for this book for nine years and up, when it comes out in September.