Ponies, Dalmatians and Teenage Sleuths

These books were reviewed on ABC Radio Canberra Drive Show with Louise Maher on Tuesday November 23 2010

Books reviewed by Deborah Abela, National Literacy Ambassador and

Author of Max Remy Superspy series, Jasper Zammit (Soccer Legend) series, The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen and Grimsdon.


Noni The Poni written and Illustrated by Alison Lester

(Allen and Unwin)

Picture Book

This is the story of a pony called Noni who is friendly and funny and has a shimmering, honey-coloured tail. She lives on a farm overlooking the sea and likes trotting and prancing and kicking up her heels with the hens and the ducks. Her best friends are Dave the Dog and Coco the Cat who run and play and jump over the creek. And like a good friend, Noni is always careful that no one gets left behind, that if thunder frightens her friends, she cuddles them close and tells them stories to help them be brave, and when she gets spooked by the rustling leaves at night, all she has to do is snuggle in for a song with her best friends and soon she’ll be sleeping all night long. Alison’s drawings are created from clean strong lines, vibrant colours and a fierce love of animals and the Australian landscape. When times are happy there are golds and blues and when forests fill with Noni’s fears, there are murky greys and greens. With Alison’s books though, you can be sure to end on a warm and cuddly note.

Just a Dog written by Michael Gerard Bauer

(Omnibus Books)

Primary Aged kids

Mr Mosely is a gangly dog who was supposed to be a pure bred Dalmatian but because of a faulty lock on a kennel door, ended up being a bitser. Bitser or not he is adored by young Corey, whose mum and dad gave him the decision of choosing Mr Mosely from all the other dogs at the kennel. This is a seemingly random collection of tales about Mr Mosely, or Moe, until certain threads begin to poke through Corey’s retelling that let us know bigger things are going on. Like Dad losing his job and not telling as many jokes anymore, like mum finding out she was going to have another baby and that leading to serious words between Corey’s parents about money troubles and how Uncle Gavin, who used to come around a lot, stopped after a really bad fight. With the backdrop of economic tough times and strained relationships, Mr Mosely is always there, collecting the paper, wagging his tail to distraction when Corey comes home from school and as someone to talk to when each of the family members needs him. There are touching and tender moments that sneak up on you, proving that Mr Mosely is much more than ‘just a dog.’

Noah’s Law: Crime Punishment and Paper Jams written by Randa Abdel-Fattah

(Pan Macmillan Australia)

Young Adult

Sixteen-year-old Noah thinks he’s the king of wit and practical jokes. His dad, however, a successful QC, believes his son is a troublemaker who needs to be taught the value of responsibility, so sentences him to spending the summer holidays making up for his ‘crimes’ in his aunt’s law firm. Resentful of spending hot sunny days photocopying reams of case notes, Noah soon makes friends with cute, sassy legal assistant Jacinta, which makes being stuck in the office suddenly much more interesting. He also becomes intrigued by a case where a grieving husband is seeking compensation over of the death of his wife at her work. Noah soon has his suspicions that perhaps the husband’s grief is all an act and that the wife’s death wasn’t a robbery gone wrong as is being argued by his aunt’s firm. But how can he prove it when a lot of his theories are circumstantial and the evidence he does manage to gather has been obtained by not-so-legal ways? The more he searches, the more complicated the case seems and the more determined he is to have justice play out.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: