Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dunger by Joy Cowley

Pre-teen Fiction

Dunger by Joy Cowley, Gecko Press

Congratulations to Gecko Press for publishing this warm-hearted novel by one of New Zealand’s most loved children’s authors. It’s a homely story set in Joy’s beloved Marlborough Sounds, focusing on 11-year-old William and 14-year-old Melissa, who take turns to narrate the chapters. They are horrified at the idea of spending ten days at a remote bach in the Sounds with their ancient grandparents. No electricity, no cell phone coverage - it’s the pits. But their noisy, opinionated grandparents teach them a few living-off-the-land skills, and gradually their ideas change. When Grandpa has a bad accident William and Melissa are able to take charge and sort things out. The setting is vivid, the characters are likeable (even the doddery old grandparents) and the plot is well-paced and interesting. It’s a comfortable read for intermediate ages, with a strong New Zealand theme. Recommended.

ISBN 978 1 877579 46 2 $19.99 Pb

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

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