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"Taconi and Claude -
Double Trouble
"

+ HOOKING reluctant readers with a
WOW factor.


 

 


Reviewed by Patricia Tilton of
Children's Books Heal

Taconi & Claude: Double Trouble

Margot E. Finke, Author
Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc., Fiction, Jan. 2011

Themes: Aboriginal boy, Australian Outback, Multicultural, Coming of Age, Courage.

Suitable for Ages: Middle Grade.
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-61633-130-6; 1616331305
eBook ISBN: 978-1-61633-131-3; 1616331313

Opening: “The full moon cast a cold light on Taconi’s naked body as four wizened elders pinned him on the ground close to a blazing fire. Sweat rolled off him, and his heart raced the thump, thump, thump of the feather drums: faster and faster.”

Synopsis: This is a 1950?s coming of age story about a young aboriginal boy living in the Australian outback. Nearly 13, Taconi knows he will soon face his upcoming man ceremony and suffers night terrors. Secrecy shrouds the ceremony and he has no one to talk with except Claude, his chatty Cockatoo. He’s also torn about leaving his mother and tribe to live with his father, who is a cook at the Coorparoo Cattle Station. His father says that it’s good for Taconi to learn and understand the white man’s world if he’s to serve his tribe in later years. Taconi will train as a jackaroo (cowboy) on the cattle ranch. The Boss and the Misses throw a big party which gives Taconi’s father the chance to become the head “Cookie,” at the ranch. But the meal is jeopardized when dingoes (wild dogs) raid the chicken house, leaving no meat for the soup. Taconi wants to help his father and goes on a dangerous walkabout into the bush with Claude to find good aboriginal meat for the soup. He kills a Bandy-Bandy snake, searches for Witchetty grubs, a Goanna (lizard) and catches Yabbies (shell-fish) for his father’s soup. Only Taconi and his father know the secret of a good pot of soup. Trouble still lurks before the big ranch party. And, Taconi must have the courage to deal with the Dreamtime Spirits planning his future.

Why I like this book: I was wowed by Taconi and Claude from the first chapter. Margot Finke has written a gripping story that weaves Aussie language and vivid tales of Medicine Men and tribal customs with an adventure that boys and girls won’t be able to put down. Finke quickly draws the reader into Taconi’s life in the outback and the challenges he faces. Each chapter is a page turner. The characters are fleshed out, including his awesome Cockatoo, Claude, who provides much comic relief throughout the story. The plot is exciting, funny and packed with action. Readers will enjoy learning about eating live Witchetty Grubs, catching Yabbies and being covered by green fire ants. There is a glossary of Aussie terms at the end of the book that will introduce readers to a variety of new vocabulary and expose them to a new culture.

Clara Bowman-Jahn also reviewed Taconi and Claude last year on her blog.

Margot Finke is an Aussie transplant who writes middle grade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. For many years she has lived in Oregon with her husband and family. Visit Margot Finke on her website.

 

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Taconi and Claude

 

Reviewed by:
Penelope Anne Cole - author and blogger


Taconi & Claude: Double Trouble, a Chapbook for Tweens, by Margot Finke, is a wonderful addition to this genre. The book is a coming of age story set in the 1950's in the Australian Outback. There's a lot of Aussie information in the chapters to interest kids who wonder what it's like "down under."

I found myself humming "Waltzing Matilda" as I turned the pages and met fascinating creatures from that familiar song. The story has strange words and phrases that are commonplace to Taconi (and defined at the end of the story). Each time Taconi encounters one of the special critters from the outback, you are engaged and enter more deeply into his world and his conflict. Taconi is an aboriginal boy on the verge of his "man ceremony." His best friend Claude, the talkative Cockatoo, accompanies him everywhere. Taconi is caught between two worlds -- the tribal world he was born into and the white man's world he navigates with his Dad, a cook on the Coorparoo Cattle Station.

The old and new ways constantly bump into each other. Taconi must learn white man's customs in order to fit in there and yet not lose his tribal heritage and connection. His faithful though loud-mouthed pal Claude, talks a lot but also says just what Taconi needs to hearAs any other adolescent, Taconi wonders: What will I be when I grow up? What if I can't endure the pain, and cry out at my "Man Ceremony," humiliating myself and shaming my Dad? Does Dad have my interests at heart or is he ignoring me as he pursues his goal? These thoughts haunt Taconi's dreams and worry him during the day. Still he helps his Dad save the soup and also searches for the blue kingfisher tail feather with its powerful magic.

Eventually Taconi learns some important truths about his life that enable him to accept and acclimate to both worlds.Transplanted Aussie Margot Finke captures the reader's interest with her intense beginning, Taconi's fearful dream. As you follow Taconi's story, you worry something awful may befall the outspoken Claude. Or the ancient and menacing Medicine Man may harm Taconi, his Dad, or Claude. Ms. Finke keeps the story moving, having Taconi deal with one problem after another as his wisdom and courage grow. I commend Margot Finke for this exciting, entertaining story about a distant world in a different time, but with a timeless message about growing up and finding your own way. This one is sure to be a favorite of kids here and "down under."

Reviewed by
Penelope Anne Cole

 

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Taconi and Claude

Reviewer:
Michelle Fayard for - Bird's-eye View

August 16th 2011

***** Stars

Read her Interview of Margot HERE


Taconi and Claude will delight middle-grade readers:


Set in the Australian outback in the 1950s, Margot Finke's new book, Taconi and Claude: Double Trouble (Guardian Angel Publishing Inc., 2011), will take you on a journey where you'll feel the aboriginal boy's two biggest fears: the ceremony that will initiate the 12 year old as a man of his tribe, and his concerns his dad, who's started cooking for Boss and Missus, won't have time to teach him how to become a man.

Because Taconi and his dad no longer live in the hills with the rest of their tribe, Taconie has no one else he can ask. Staying with his tribe has become impossible; Taconi's dad and the medicine man are at odds following the death of the boy's sister.

Taconi feels as if he has one foot in tribe's way and another foot in the white man's world. Yet, Taconi worries, if his dad doesn't get the cookie job, he might never smile again. "I want cookie job more than kookaburra wants to laugh," his father says.

Taconi decides that only a tail feather from a blue kingfisher-like the medicine man has-can help calm his man ceremony fears and help his dad keep his job. "Just one feather from the kingfisher bird, and big problems go pffft ... away on the wind," Taconi says. And just maybe it will help him understand his dad's advice: "Aborigine man must know how to live in black skin and with white folks."

Taconi goes walkabout to hunt for the talisman as well as for bush meat-things such as witchetty grubs and bandy-bandy snakes. His dad will need extra meat for an important celebration that will bring other cattle station owners from hundreds of miles away. How could Missus help but be impressed with such delicacies for her dinner?

Accompanying Taconi is a cockatoo named Claude whose one liners are as humorous as they are wise. Could it be that the Dreamtime spirits are talking through him? For it's not soon after that Taconi learns the real power is what's inside each of us, the power that lives within our head and our heart.

 

 

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Taconi and Claude

Reviewed by: Rhonda Fischer
Author of award winning:
"Randy Kazandy - Where Are Your Glasses?"

 

Rating:
* * * *

Taconi & Claude takes place in the Australian outback of the early nineteen fifties. An aboriginal child, Taconi lives on Coorparoo Cattle Station, along with his best friend, a cockatoo named Claude. Claude is about seventy years old, has had many owners, and dabbles in a large vocabulary when he talks to Taconi.

The book is intense. At the beginning Taconi is 13, and has many fears concerning his upcoming and very secret man ceremony. He is terrified about what might happen during the ceremony. Taconi lives in his native world, yet he is also learning to live in the white man's world. A world of eating termites, kookaburra's, frillneck lizards, kangaroos, emu, and other creatures that live in the outback world of Australia. Find out which of these animals is never hunted by his tribe. Find out why Taconi looks forward to becoming an Elder.

When you pick up the book you feel as if you are actually in Australia and hear the sounds of the bush in your mind, and feel the dampness across your brow. It was an adventure I took without leaving my house. Jump into the secrets and triumphs that Taconi works on to help his father win his placement in the white man's world.

A wonderful glossary of Aboriginal and Aussie words are placed at the end of the book. Not only your child, but adults will love to learn about the life of the Aboriginals in Taconi's tribe, circra 1950. Taconi and Claude is full of outstanding facts about an aboriginal boy who prospered.

Songs like Kookaburra Sings in the Old Gum Tree and Waltzing Matilda are much more meaningful to me now. I heard that Kookaburra's indeed don't sing at all, they laugh. That title needs to change. Find your small reading place, and snuggle up with your child. Your adventure with Taconi & Claude is about to begin.

 

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Taconi and Claude

Reviewed by
J. Aday Kennedy -
for Brain Fart Explosion

 

Rating:

*****

Book Synopsis: Taconi, a young aboriginal boy, living on Coorparoo Cattle Station, in outback Australia, fears the unknown. His upcoming Man Ceremony, Dreamtime Spirits, and his Dad's change of job are just three of the unknowns he must tackle. Claude, his chatty cockatoo, offers wise one-liners. Yet Taconi must discover courage and insight for himself. Suggested ages for readers: 9-14 years

For a taste of the Outback read Taconi & Claude by Margot Finke. Experience the flavor of the wilderness through Finke's picturesque prose. Taconi, the young protagonist shares his fears and thoughts as he hunts and speaks to Claude, his cockatoo.

This bird has an attitude and spunky personality. His one-liners add a touch of comic relief as Taconi struggles to mentally prepare for his man ceremony. As I read the book Taconi took on an accent and persona. His image became indelible in my mind. Finke does a superb job of showing the inner most fears of the boy and his determination to overcome them.

All boys will relate to Taconi as they approach their own "coming of age" approaches.. The book is perfect for reluctant readers, boys especially. Tromping through the Outback with Taconi & Claude will provide hours of reading adventure. I highly recommend Taconi & Claude.

 

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Taconi & Claude - Double Trouble

Reviewed for: Blogcritics
by Nicole Weaver

 

Rating:

*****

Margot Finke has done it again! Her witty sense of humor, unbridled passion and talent to write stories for children and teens shine through like a beacon in the night.In Taconi and Claude: Double Trouble, Ms. Finke introduces the reader to the Australian outback. The two lovable characters, Taconi and his beloved best friend Claude, a cockatoo, will captivate you till the very end of the story. The story chronicles the coming of age of a boy from a tribe in the 1950s era of the Australian outback. Taconi leaves the hills to come with his father to serve an affluent family at a time when he is also to enter the manhood of his Tribe.

Taconi and the cockatoo experience daily challenges together in a fun and amusing way. Along the journey, the reader will learn much about Australian folk tales and primitive tribal living.The most memorable moment in this delightful tale is the author’s ingenious way to show that in Australia it is not too farfetched to indulge in eating snakes and other unheard-of critters.

There are a great deal of lessons one can learn from reading Taconi & Claude. Here are a few that stand out:
1) Hard Work: Taconi learns from his dad that hard work pays off. The lesson to be learned is that nothing comes easy in life; one must be willing to work hard to achieve goals. In the end, Taconi is inspired by his dad’s willingness to work hard and he helps his father keep his job as a cook and makes his father proud of the young man he has become.
2) Friendship: I love the strong friendship between Taconi and his mouthy cockatoo. Even though Claude’s death defying curiosity led to Taconi being smothered by flesh-biting critters, Taconi managed to forgive Claude and they remained close buddies.
3) Self Discovery: Taconi searches for the power he thinks he needs to survive by diligently looking for the blue kingfisher feather. Taconi is convinced that the blue kingfisher feather has magical power that will help him obtain unlimited amount of courage. In the end, Taconi discovers the power he is looking for comes from within.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this book for both girls and boys. I believe, students can learn a lot about what it means to be loyal and the benefits one can reap from hard work. Lastly, the glossary of Aussie terms at the end of the book will introduce readers to an array of new vocabulary and expose them to a new culture.

 

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Taconi & Claude- Double Trouble

Reviewed for: Stories for Children
by Terri Forehand

Rating:

*****

I have the privilege of reviewing the newest book by award winning children's author, Margot Finke. Her new book titled Taconi & Claude, Double Trouble is a book I couldn't put down.The theme is a coming of age book for a boy from a tribe in the 1950's era of the Australian outback. Taconi leaves the hills to come with his father to serve an afluent family at a time when he is also to enter the manhood of his Tribe.

His best friend is a mouthy old bird named Claude. Claude shows remarkable wisdom throughout the story as Taconi searches for the power he thinks he needs to survive. Together they search for the blue kingfisher feather believing it has magical power for courage and survival. Through many predicaments and all kinds of trouble, Taconi discovers the power he is looking for comes from within. Through the trials and adventures, Taconi helps his father keep his job as a cookie and makes his father proud of the young man he has become.

This story weaves Aussie language and vivid details of the 1950's folk tales of Medicine men and primitive tribal living with an adventure that readers will not be able to put down. This story will interest both boys and girls with it's humor, adventure, and the actions of one awesome bird named Claude. Ms Finke includes a glossary of Aussie terms adding to the overall feel of an adventure in the Australian outback. Wonderful coming of age story with spirit and adventure that no child should miss. I would definitely recommend this for students, teachers, and librarians as a great book.

 


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Taconi & Claude: Double Trouble

Reviewed by Donna McDine

Rating:

****

 

The fear of the unknown sends Taconi's mind into the darkest corners of his imagination. Will his ever changing life continue to spiral out of control? Finding his one true place while saddling the life as an aboriginal in the Australian outback and then as a Jackaroo in the white man's world is a constant struggle.

With the anticipation of his man ceremony, Taconi fights his inner thoughts to be worthy of his aboriginal customs; all the while, striving to understand his father's need to become the head cook on the Coorparoo Cattle Station. The fight for balance becomes quite confusing for young Taconi in his determination not to forget his heritage and accepting the need to live in the white man's world.

Along the way he finds comfort and direction in an unlikely companion, the outspoken Claude the cockatoo. This unlikely and heartwarming friendship is wise beyond their years and will have the reader cheering for Taconi's one true quest, acceptance. Will Taconi be able to weave customs from both worlds into a comfortable fit? Author, M.E. Finke expertly brings forth her expertise of the Australian outback in this fast paced fictional story transporting the reader with the perfect blend of description and dialogue.

For a deeper understanding of the Australian, author M.E. Finke provides a glossary of Australian terms, which will surely bring out the love of reading to the most reluctant reader.

 


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More
REVIEWS

for
Taconi and Claude

on

The Home School Book Review
http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolbookreview/786639/

Bless Their Hearts Book Review
http://blesstheirheartsmom.blogspot.com/2011/06/book-review-and-giveaway-taconi-and.html

Coloring Outside the Lines:
http://eliles-coloringoutsidethelines.blogspot.com/2011/06/book-review-taconi-and-claude-by-margot.html

Mymcbooks's Blog
http://mymcbooks.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/blog-tour-book-giveaway-taconi-claude-ruthie-the-hippo-and-horatio-humble/

 

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The Revenge of Thelma Hill

 

KINDLE

Smashwords

Powell's Books

NOOK

 

Reviewed by Donna McDine,
award willing author and reviewer.
http://www.donnamcdine.com/home.html

Title: The Revenge of Thelma Hill

Written by: Margot Finke
Published in: Kindle
Published: 2012
Pages: 87


Twelve-year old Frannie's life, in turmoil with the reality of abandonment by her mother, becomes even more frustrating with the announcement of her dad's work transfer. Moving from the comfort of Iowa to Oregon gets her thinking more and more of her mother and the what if's. Her dad makes it perfectly clear conversations about her mother are off limits. She would turn to her twin, Jeff, for support but they have never been close.

Upon their move to Oregon, Frannie is determined to make the best of summer vacation, even though the prospect of making friends before school begins appears nil. Miraculously a friendship develops in the most unexpected form. And when I say form, it's the ghostly form.
Frannie's ability to tap into spirits from the beyond is fine tuned and entwines her into an experience like no-other. The task at hand is unearthing the key evidence into a long forgotten death of a once wealthy newlywed.

Will Frannie trust her instincts and help the ghost of Thelma Hill be released into her final resting place? Or will she allow her negative relationship with her brother to consume her? Surely there is more than one way to develop a positive relationship with both the living and the dead?
Find out in this expertly written fast paced middle grade novel adventure written by the Aussie from down under, Margot Finke. The author's wholesome writing is sure to please her readers, from children to parents and educators.

Learn more about Margot Finke's illustrious writing career and critique services at http://www.margotfinke.com

 

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REVIEWER
Janet Ann Collins -
writer, speaker, blogger.

The Revenge of Thelma Hill

Well Written - ***** Stars

I'm not much into ghost stories, but I enjoyed
The Revenge of Thelma Hill - a LOT.

It starts off with a scary first chapter, but eventually we learn the ghost of Thelma Hill isn't evil. She just wants Frannie James to help her. Thelma was murdered years ago by her husband, who buried her in the basement of the house where Frannie and her family now live. The ghost wants her bones buried in a consecrated cemetery so she can go to Heaven and for her murderer to get the punishment he deserves. She's certain Frannie is the only one who can make that happen - but how?

The real scary character in the book isn't the ghost, but her murderer.

The subplots include Frannie trying to find out what happened to her own mother, who had left the family when she was two years old, and dealing with her obnoxious twin brother. Since the family moved to their new town during Summer vacation her brother Jeff is the only kid she knows, but they can't get along and quarrel constantly. And, of course, if Frannie tells anyone she has been seeing a ghost they'll think she has gone crazy.

The author, Margot Finke, has done a wonderful job of writing an exciting, tension-filled story and portraying realistic characters and relationships.


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REVIEWER
Catrina Barton "KittyB78" (Mo, USA) -
See all my reviews

The Revenge of Thelma Hill

Masterful !
November 21, 2012

**** Stars


This review is from: The Revenge of Thelma Hill (Kindle Edition)
In the spirit of fair disclosure, this honest review is solely my opinions, based on a copy supplied by the author. It has not been compensated for in any way. Anyone who reads my reviews can plainly see I say what I think straight up.

I loved the wordplay on the title chapters, and felt it added a touch of flair to the story. The characters are well fleshed out, and the plot was easy to follow. I enjoyed the easy pace, and great characters. Miss Finke, knows her stuff.

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REVIEWER

Margaret C. Arvanitis
October 18, 2012

***** Stars

The Revenge of Thelma Hill

A hair-raising ghost story

Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase


Author Margot Finke did a masterful job of bringing the characters into 12 year old personalities in this hair-raising ghost story and mystery. Who killed Thelma Hill? How can they find the killer and bring him to justice so that the 40 year old ghost can go on to her final resting place? Frannie spearheads the escapade, dragging her twin brother into it at the end. They solve the problem without adult help, facing a killer, and bringing terrible danger to themselves. A perfect book for a scary Halloween night read. I must send it to my 12 year old granddaughter. She will love it too.

 

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REVIEWER: Susan Berger
Reviewer and Blogger - October 2012



The Revenge of Thelma Hill

RATING: *****


This is the story of twelve year old Frannie James who moves to a new town and encounters a ghost thirsting for revenge. In her quest to find Thelma's killer, Frannie gets help from her eternally sulky twin brother Jeff. Frannie mends their friendship and comes up with a clever plan to expose a murderer. The trick is not to get killed while carrying it out.

I found this book to be an enjoyable read. Beyond the main story is the background story of being twelve and motherless and starting over in a new town, Frannie aches to know why her mother left them many years ago and what happened to her. I also loved the characters of her zit ridden techie brother Jeff and her harried dad.

Thelma is a very realistic ghost who happens to have a ghost familiar who's ten shades of scary.

A great gift for your tween reader.


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The Revenge of Thelma Hill

***** Stars

By Margot Finke
Cover Art by Agy Wilson


Fall is the right time of year to read Margot Finke's spooky middle grade novel, The Revenge of Thelma Hill. It's a perfect harvest offering for lovers of ghost stories. Agy Wilson's scary cover immediately grabs you and pulls you in. Let's join in the hunt to capture a killer.

Frannie and twin brother Jeff have unhappily moved to Oregon due to Dad's promotion. Since it's summertime, they've no easy way to make friends, and have some time on their hands. What better way to fill it than tracking down a murderer? There are a few problems -- the chief witness and victim is a ghost, and the forty-year-old crime was presumed an accident. Such obstacles don't deter Frannie James.

Frannie is the only one who can see the ghost. She wants to bring Thelma's killer to justice, but can't do it alone. Jeff takes some convincing to believe in ghosts enough to help her. His computer "geek-ness" is truly put to the test. These kids are strong characters with courage and determination. We applaud their efforts though we fear for their safety.

The story is exciting and fast-paced with realistic scenes of sibling disharmony in everyday family dynamics. Can the twins set aside their bickering to concentrate on saving Thelma from a fate-worse-than-death? Have they undertaken an impossible task on their own? They can't involve their busy Dad -- he doesn't believe in ghosts -- but keeping him "out of it" complicates matters. Other problems Frannie and Jeff face keep the story interesting and enjoyable right up to the climax. In the end we finally get answers to Frannie's questions about their long-absent Mom. This is a most satisfying ghost story for 'tweens.


Available as a Kindle book from Amazon


Reviewed by:
Penelope Anne Cole
- Author of "Magical Matthew."

 


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Down Under Calling

 

 

Down Under Calling
Written by: Margot Finke
Published: 2013

KINDLE - - - Amazon

Powell's Books - NOOK

Reviewed by Donna McDine - award willing author and reviewer.
http://www.donnamcdine.com/home.html
***** Stars

A beautifully crafted story of bridging the generation gap! October 31, 2013

The Aussie from Down Under, Margot Finke, has done it again! Down Under Calling is a beautifully crafted story of bridging the generation gap and ocean separation through good old-fashioned letter writing and sharing stories of one's youth.

At the request of his mother, Andy Frazer is reluctant in having to write a letter to his Australian Grandma Rose. It was bad enough his family was forced to move from their spacious home to a cramped apartment. Something about downsizing at his father's job led to this. Along with not being allowed to purchase any more video games he now had to write a letter to some old lady he doesn't even remember. What could he possibly write about?

What starts out as a burden quickly turns into a true labor of love. The letter writing becomes a glorious distraction that serves as the propeller of an exploding imagination and curiosity. What Andy learns along the way is invaluable. Journey along with Andy, Grandma Rose, and Andy's closest friend Kelly as their lives become intertwined despite the separation of an ocean.

The humorous letter exchanges will have the reader turning the pages as quick as lightening. Author, Margot Finke includes a glossary of Australian words for easy reference. Visit Finke at www.margotfinke.com to learn about her ever-evolving writing career. Be prepared to spend quite a bit of time visiting, for Margot's expertise and humor spill from the pages.

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Down Under Calling
Published October 30, 2013

KINDLE - - - Amazon

Powell's Books - NOOK



Reviewed by Penelope Anne Cole
Format:Kindle Edition

***** Stars


Looking for a mid-grade novel for a `tween-age boy who's interested in all things Aussie? Here's the perfect book for you, Down Under Calling, by Margot Finke. Ms Finke is a transplanted Aussie with memories and stories to share about wild and wonderful Australia. I highly recommend this book to boys and girls who want to learn more about Australian animals. Parents and grandparents will enjoy the growing relationship between Andy and Grandma Rose.

In Down Under Calling, Andy's mother wants him to do something productive over summer - not sit around playing video games. She suggests he write letters to his Grandma Rose in Australia. We applaud his mother's pushing Andy knowing that he and his grandmother will get to know each other better through this correspondence. We'll all learn more about Australia through Grandma Rose's sharing her memories with us about growing up `down under.'

Andy, being a video game player, is not inclined to write letters - how "borrring," he thinks, as he reluctantly complies with Mom's urging. But once he receives Grandma Rose's first letter, he changes his mind. Grandma Rose has a lot of interesting critter visitors to her garden, which backs to the Queensland Bush, plus entertaining personal stories from her girlhood. Andy is hooked and his friend, a girl named Kelly, is drawn in, too. The summer passes pleasurably on both continents as they eagerly await the next snail mail installment. Andy and Kelly's friendship also grows as they share their personal stories.

Letter exchanges make for wonderful stories. We get to experience life in two worlds. In this case we also get Rose's remembrances of her life as a girl in Australia in the 1940's, contrasted with her life today. Andy's perspective broadens and his understanding of his own life's problems also deepens. He develops a warm relationship with his grandmother and gains a close friend in Kelly. They learn more about the creatures in Australia through Andy and Kelly's `Google' searches. Andy and Kelly find more to interest them outside in bike riding and bird watching.

If you've ever carried on a correspondence over a period of time you learn a lot about the other person as you share information - and you learn more about yourself as well. Andy learns his parents are having the same problems he's had since his father was downsized, which changed their living situation. The whole family has had to adjust to their altered financial reality. In this day and age sacrifices seem harder to make when we see others are much better off. This story shows how families can stick together in hard times and that expensive, `store bought' fun isn't a true necessity. It's our relationships that really matter.


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