DEC Scan Journal : August 2011
Scan Vol 30 No 3 August 2011 83 <www.dougmacleod.com.au/>, along with his aim to write a funny novel with some gruesome parts. He has certainly succeeded. C . Keane USER LEVEL: Stage 5 Stage 6 KLA: English SYLLABUS: English 7–10; English Stage 6 Paper $17.95 SCIS 1467198 MASSON, Sophie The understudy’s revenge Scholastic, NSW, 2011 ISBN 9781741698138 Fifteen year old Millie Osborne is working for the King’s Company in London in 1860 when a mysterious stranger, Oliver Parry, auditions for a minor role in Hamlet. This delightful historical novel is packed with incident and authentic period detail, as Millie and her friend Seth investigate why Oliver has joined the theatre company. Millie shows herself to be a spirited and warm main character, a natural detective with a flair for speculation and an immense curiosity about life. She and Seth participate in a séance, talk with Charles Dickens, go off on wild goose chases and encounter danger before all is revealed. Without spoiling the reader’s fun, it can be revealed that the answer to the mystery of Oliver Parry includes a bush ranger, a missing son, a South American connection and a spot of amnesia. Masson’s gentle trailer featuring drawings from the period at <tiny.cc/n4q6h> is a useful introduction to the well crafted mystery. Its pace and rich charac- terisation will intrigue and entertain newcomers and avid fans of historical fiction. E . Chase USER LEVEL: Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5 KLA: English SYLLABUS: English K–6; English 7–10 Paper $16.99 SCIS 1491758 MUNDELL, Meg Black glass Scribe, Vic, 2011 ISBN 9781921640933 The lure of the city proves enticing for sisters, Grace and Tally as it will allow them to escape their pitiful nomadic lifestyle. After the unexpected death of their drug dealing father, the girls follow their dream of finding fortune in the seemingly glitzy metropolis. Unfortunately, rather than sharing the experience, Grace and Tally are separated. Both must fend for themselves in a place that is far removed from their hopeful visions. Set in a future world where constant surveillance and distinct social divisions are the norm, the realistic characterisation adds to the novel’s authentic nature. The use of multiple narrative voices starkly exposes every aspect of seedy city life. Drug use, strong language in context, and issues such as parental neglect and homelessness are evident within the plot. With careful consideration, this gritty, debut novel may be a worth- while related text for the HSC Area of Study: Belonging. H . Gardiner USER LEVEL: Stage 6 KLA: English SYLLABUS: English 7–10; English Stage 6 Paper $32.95 SCIS 1491703 New Australian stories – 2 / edited by Aviva Tuffield. Scribe, Vic, 2010 ISBN 9781921640865 An intriguing collection from a broad range of Australian writers, old and new, this anthology has something for everyone. The writing is sound, interesting, funny and inspiring. From Zane Lovitt’s Leaving the fountainhead to Tony Birch’s poignant After Rachel, what strikes a reader is the honesty of the writing styles. There are stories about growing up, growing old, about food, love lost and found, about travel, and life’s dangers. In some cases the language is more appropriate for adult readers, but it is the kind of book that can be dipped into and carefully selected stories could be used as models of short story writing for senior students. S . Pollard USER LEVEL: Stage 6 Professional KLA: English SYLLABUS: English Stage 6 Paper $29.95 SCIS 1485070 SACHER, Louis The cardturner Bloomsbury, UK, 2010 ISBN 9781408808504 It is extraordinary what this writer uses to make a rich and meaning- ful text, and this new title is no exception. The plot outline is simple. Alton, the central character, is persuaded by his parents to accompany his rich, blind uncle to bridge games and to act as his eyes. Uncle Trapp is an irascible fellow who belies conventional stereotypes about the handicapped, by being one the best bridge players in the country. Bridge is not a game that attracts a lot of attention amongst younger people. Through Alton, readers are brought to some understanding of the complexity of the game. Sacher describes the games, going into considerable detail at some points, so that as Alton learns how to play so does the reader. The narrative considers issues surrounding handicaps, family relationships and trusting our hearts. Sacher’s writing lifts The cardturner from being a mere instruction manual to something much more. It offers an engaging read. S . Pollard USER LEVEL: Stage 4 Stage 5 $24.99 SCIS 1458519 SFAR, Joann The little prince Walker, UK, 2010 ISBN 9781406325447 Adapted from Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s moving philosophical tale, this sequential art version does justice to the original story. As a graphic novel, it is beautifully rendered in sombre colours, enhancing the gentle magic of a story that involves a pilot who has landed in the Sahara Desert after his plane malfunctioned, and his meeting with a strange little boy from another planet. The relationship between the pilot and the little prince is expressed through whimsical conversa- tions about their different lifestyles. Using a consistent layout of six panels to a page, the composer takes the reader on a fantastic journey. The tale operates on many different levels, ranging from innocent charm to profound philosophical questions about existence. Students across a range of age groups will find much to reflect on in this delightful graphic interpretation. C . Sly USER LEVEL: Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5 Stage 6 KLA: English SYLLABUS: English K–6; English 7–10; English Stage 6 $32.99 SCIS 1479086 Please be aware that the price of a text may change between the time we receive the resource and the publication of the resource review. Prices include GST.