Tag Archives: Shipwrecks

Boy Giant: Son of Gulliver – Michael Morpurgo

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Harper Collins

September 2019

ISBN: 9780008347925

ISBN 10: 0008347921

Imprint: HarperCollins – GB

List Price: 19.99 AUD

And the master has done it again! Morpurgo has drawn on Jonathon Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels as his inspiration for this latest exploration of human nature, political unrest and compassion.

Omar has fled war-torn Afghanistan with his mother in a race for survival. A long and dangerous journey sees them at last reach the sea and a boat for England but a storm at sea wreaks havoc and Omar finds himself washed up on a small island – and even stranger, surrounded by hundreds of tiny people.

It is Lilliput and the inhabitants believe that Omar is the descendant of Gulliver their revered saviour who visited them three hundred years earlier.  Omar’s sojourn on the island helps him to recover from terror, to develop compassion and wisdom, discover skills and strengths and eventually prepares him for a risky journey to England to try and find what remains of his family.

With much skill Morpurgo draws parallels between a three hundred year old text considered seditious and subversive in its time with its criticism of power and politics and the present day where our humanity struggles against those who are determined to destroy and oppress.

MM is one of my most favourite authors and never fails to astonish me. Who else could suspend my disbelief to the point where a tiny pair of Lilliputians helping to narrate a tale would seem so normal?

This is another fine tale for readers from around ten years upwards and in fact would make a splendid read-aloud or class novel for upper primary/lower secondary to engender discussions and commentary.

Of course, highly recommended – loved it!

 

Seahorse – Bruce Pascoe

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Magabala Books

August 2015

ISBN:9781921248931

RRP $16.95

Both boys and girls in middle primary or thereabouts will enjoy this exciting story set on the beach of Seahorse Bay. Camping, fishing, snorkelling and a sunken boat are all the makings of a terrific family adventure.

Jack is making real progress with his snorkelling with his dad, Vince, as a good teacher. He in turn is helping little sister Tanya with her efforts.  Jack has seen stingrays and octopus, collected abalone and crayfish but his real moment of astonishment comes when he finds a cleat from a boat, closely followed by an anchor. After some investigation, Vince reckons the wreck can be salvaged and made good again. Imagine their curiosity when upon scuba diving to check out the likelihood of this, Vince and Jack come to the conclusion that the boat was deliberately scuttled.

And it seems the mysterious man dressed in black who has been watching them from on top of the cliffs could be the person responsible. What is the secret of the sunken boat? And why is Jack’s family being threatened for retrieving it?  Luckily the police are right on top of things and there is a satisfactory conclusion which might not have been the case given the drug running and murder that haunt the wreck.

Reluctant readers will surely be engaged in this book as the text is very accessible and full of action in less than one hundred pages. There are some wonderful descriptions of the underwater sea life and the wild beach.

Recommended for readers from around Year 3 and up.