DEC Scan Journal : November 2011
Scan Vol 30 No 4 November 2011 77 tion, and Federation provide the historical contexts for each Australian girl’s struggle for survival. Refreshingly, each short novel informs readers about some of the issues confronting young females growing up in the new society. Cultural identity, belonging, independence and friendship are explored at various levels, but would require teacher direction and focus to have value in the classroom. The series could be used as supplementary material for students with an interest in Australian history. B. Kervin USER LEVEL: Stage 3 Stage 4 KLA: HSIE SYLLABUS: History 7–10 Paper $14.95 each Reviewed titles in this series: A friend for grace SCIS 1505692 Letty and the stranger’s lace SCIS 1504621 Poppy at summerhill SCIS 1505684 Rose on wheels SCIS 1505696 PHOMMAVANH, Oliver Con-nerd Penguin Group (Australia), 2011, (Puffin) ISBN 9780143304869 In Year 6 and burdened by family expecta- tions, peer pressure and adolescent awakenings, Connor is a gifted, aspiring cartoonist. Nicknamed Con-nerd (half Connor and all nerd), Connor is a geeky Clark Kent style character hoping for a Superman like transformation. Set in the Western suburbs of Sydney, this humourous account of his struggle to establish his own identity reflects the trials and tribulations experienced by some Australian born children of ambitious migrants, growing up with the opportunities offered in a western, urban society. The difficulty of Connor’s situation, and that of his widowed Chinese mother, is portrayed with pathos and empathetic humour, while the page corner, flip book cartoon illustrates Connor’s heroic evolution. N. Chaffey USER LEVEL: Stage 3 Stage 4 Paper $16.95 SCIS 1509012 PLATT, Richard & RIDDELL, Chris Pirate diary: the journal of Jake Carpenter Walker, UK, 2011 ISBN 9781406330601 Glossy paper and wonderfully evocative illustrations do much to lift this rollicking pirate adventure. This story of a young man setting off to sea in the early eighteenth century incorporates interesting facts about the lives of sailors and pirates during the period. Accompanied by painstakingly researched illustrations and supplementary infor- mation about the history of piracy, it is not surprising that this book won the Kate Greenway Medal in 2001 and a Blue Peter Book Award in 2003. Students interested in boats, pirates or history may enjoy this action-packed yarn. Despite its fictitious nature, it illustrates the place of diaries as historical documents. Simple language and cartoon like illustrations pitch the book towards a younger reader- ship, where it is bound to find excited devotees. S. Pollard USER LEVEL: Stage 3 Stage 4 Paper $19.95 SCIS 1501339 RODDA, Emily Bungawitta Omnibus, SA, 2011 ISBN 9781862918337 Iconically Australian in flavour, this latest offering from Emily Rodda is a testament to the moral fibre and spirit of Australian culture and people. A seven year drought has plagued Bungawitta. With no end in sight, the people take matters into their own hands in an effort to save their town. Stage 1 and 2 emergent and independent readers will warm to this well-written, humorous narrative which is ably illustrated with amusing black and white drawings. Written in bite-sized chapters, using the vernacular of the target audience, the story will captivate and entertain readers as they follow the preparations for the first ever Bungawitta Earth Festival. Readers will identify with the central characters and, in so doing, come to believe that all things are possible. G. Cale USER LEVEL: Stage 1 Stage 2 Paper $12.99 SCIS 1502633 RUSSELL, Rachael Renee Dork diaries: pop star Simon and Schuster, UK, 2011 ISBN 9780857071187 Continuing the popular recent trend of the diary format, this novel captures the characteristics of its form, including abbreviated language, sharp bursts of information and lots of self-deprecating humour. The third book in the Dork diaries series, this entertaining text is sprinkled with playful doodles and black and white cartoons. The central character’s struggle to fit in, keep friends, battle her arch rival and find the perfect boy will be familiar to some pre-teen and teenage readers. While the superficial nature of the characters and plot limits the novel’s potential as a good classroom text, extracts about conflict, school life, honesty and friendship could be used as starting points for classroom activities. B. Kervin USER LEVEL: Stage 3 Stage 4 Paper $14.99 SCIS 1509774 STEWART, Briony Kumiko and the shadow catchers University of Queensland Press, Qld, 2011 ISBN 9780702238741 The latest in the award winning Kumiko and the dragon series, this book uses magical imagery in a Japanese inspired adventure about a young girl called Kumiko. Exploring themes of courage, freedom and fear, the narrative follows Kumiko’s brave and ingenious attempts to free a kingdom of dragons from the dreaded shadow catchers. This book will appeal to dragon lovers and young readers of fantasy fiction. It features a glowing front cover and stylistic black and white drawings that loosely support the written text, which is full of dialogue and distinctive imagery. The delightful tale could be an intriguing one to read aloud to a Stage 2 class. J. Saxby USER LEVEL: Stage 2 Paper $14.95 SCIS 1509728 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.