Tag Archives: Travel

Beijing Tai Tai – Tania McCartney

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Exisle Publishing

2012

ISBN: 9781921966156

RRP: $14.99

I first met Tania when she came to my Canberra school as our author guest around ten years ago, and she and I just clicked from the first moment we spoke to each other. Since then it has been my honour and pleasure to be her friend. I have reviewed her books, been in awe of her talent (and her effortless elegance!), commiserated with her over slights and unjust decisions, laughed at silliness, virtually hugged each other many times and continue to be mad friends. When she offered up her book, of which she had some surplus copies, I jumped at the chance to read it.

It’s not exactly a travel book nor is it exactly a memoir but it combines both of these elements into a fabulous mash-up of anecdotes and vignettes that describe the experience of a very Aussie wife and mother living an ex-pat life in one of the strangest, most foreign (to us!) and downright quirky countries possible. I delighted in reading this over a few nights as I relaxed back into ‘school’ nights and loved, for one thing, that I could read one or two or more accounts depending on my level of tiredness.

I laughed out loud, I sympathised with Tania’s plight when bewildered or baffled, I snickered at her, often, caustic commentary on aspects of the Sino-experience and found her recurring mention of shopping totally hilarious – especially knowing her for such a total style-icon!

Aside from my political leanings, I couldn’t do it, I admit. I considered teaching in international schools and China and Hong Kong were among ones for which I interviewed years ago – and it was a close thing I admit, but I just couldn’t go through with it. So I takes me hat off to anyone who does take such a leap of faith – particularly with small children in tow.

I found this a lovely and insightful read. Not only has it given me a close-up look at one of the world’s busiest cities but has also provided me with some extra connection into my friend’s spirit.

Thanks Tania for the chance to vicariously live abroad with you – I’ll pass on the spitting, street toilet habits, your aya and even the shopping!!

Highly recommended for anyone with a pulse and a sense of humour – also with an interest in daily life from a Westerner’s perspective in an Asian setting particularly. Thanks for sharing Tan!

Mr. Men [Little Miss] in Australia – Roger Hargreaves

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Penguin Australia

  • November 2021
  • ISBN: 9781761044342
  • Imprint: Mr Men
  • RRP: $16.99

These characters are so enduring and still so well-loved fifty years after their creation, that this book will make a fun addition to your collection and, indeed, to your classroom unit on Australia, if you are building up a solid title list for that purpose.

The gang is heading down-under or according to Mr Topsy Turvy puts it ‘up over’ and each has a different take on what they want to put on their ‘must see/do’ list. Little Miss Somersault is definitely up to the challenge of planning their itinerary though.

Whether it’s climbing the Harbour Bridge – which is just the ticket for Mr Tall, though not so much for Mr Jelly! – watching the cricket at the Adelaide Oval, checking out the wildlife in Tasmania or riding the Indian Pacific, this is a terrific virtual trip around our great country for any reader.

My single slight criticism is that if you are going to talk about Bondi Beach and life guards, the illustration should be accurate (albeit I know the life saver was rescuing Mr Wrong!). Our life guards are so iconic and famous around the world I can’t imagine why anyone would draw them with blue shirts!!! (The Kid has just gained her red-and-yellows at our local club – and we are fiercely proud of her achievement).

Aside from that this a terrific addition to your library or classroom and I highly recommend it to you.