Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Castlecliff and the Fossil Princess, Whale Pot Bay

Castlecliff and the Fossil Princess by Elizabeth Pulford (Walker Books Australia) ISBN 978 192115011 1 RRP $17
A gentle and contemplative story with a lot going on under the surface. Jamie travels to a house built high on a cliff with his mother and new stepfather. There he makes friends with a girl called Lani who gathers fossils. But he’s very upset to learn that Lani has lymphoma. Jamie becomes determined to make a dangerous swim to a forbidden cave in order to find a fossil for Lanie… Elizabeth Pulford is a New Zealand author who has had more than 40 books published, including readers, picture books, chapter books, junior fiction novels, a young adult's novel and one adult's novel. Two of her junior fiction novels, "The Memory Tree" and "Call of the Cruins" were finalists in the New Zealand Post Book Awards.Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Whale Pot Bay by Des Hunt (HarperCollins NZ) ISBN 978 1 86950 730 5 RRP $19
This is Des Hunt’s seventh novel combining adventure, mystery and environmental awareness. Jake and his father live in a remote settlement on the Wairarapa coast. They enjoy surfing, fishing, and pottering around with automobile engines. But this idyllic life stops when Jake’s father invites his lady friend and her daughter to stay. The situation is made more complex by the fact that a world-famous rock star, Milton Summer, owns a property nearby – and he’s being stalked by an annoyingly persistent journalist. Everyone’s attention focuses on a pygmy sperm whale and her calf when they get into trouble on the beach. Milt and Jake and the others try to help the whale – but only make things worse for her. The story ends with a grand final scene where Milt and Jake risk their lives to save the journalist from a massive tidal wave. Intermediate-aged boys will love the non-stop action and adventure, and will probably also be interested in the factual details about whales. Des Hunt lives and teaches in the Coromandel‚ and is a highly experienced non−fiction author for children‚ with a string of science texts to his credit. Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

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