Tag Archives: whales

Barney and the Secret of the Whales – Jackie French

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barney

ISBN: 9780732299446

ISBN 10: 0732299446

Imprint: HarperCollins – AU

On Sale: 01/02/2016

Pages: 144

List Price: 12.99 AUD

 

Is there any other author who has such a deft hand at bringing Australian history alive for young readers as Jackie French?

It appears this much –loved and well-respected writer is unsurpassed in this particular genre (not to mention all her other writing!).

 

The second instalment in the The Secret Histories series re-introduces the reader to young Barney. The boy’s mother was a convict but she sadly died like so many on the perilous journey of the First Fleet and Barney, being a free person but a child, would still be at risk if not for the generosity of the Johnsons who have taken him to their hearts.

In these early days of the colony, life for so many can be harsh and surviving can be fraught. Accruing any kind of wealth is almost unheard of as the newly founded settlement lumbers along.

 

Then an exciting visitor named Captain Melvill turns up and brings with him tales of great adventure and the lure of riches to be had from whaling.  Barney is not greedy by any means but he knows that one day the Johnsons will return to England and he along with his little friend Elsie will need to make their own way in New South Wales. If he can go whaling it would mean the opportunity to earn the stake money for a small farm for them.

 

Life on a whaling ship as a boy is tough and often hard but it is not that which makes Barney heartsick. It is the cruelty of the killing of one of the most magnificent animals he has ever encountered. The hunting of sperm whales with the riches they bring to men revolts Barney to a point of misery.  Fortunately after just one hunting expedition Barney is able to return to his peaceful home.

 

For lovers of history this examination of a little known aspect of the early European settlement in Australia is fascinating. For students who are inquiring into such history it is vital to my mind. No longer can we gloss over the less honourable events in our country’s history.

Highly recommended for all readers Year 4 and up.

Whale in the Bath – Kylie Westaway/Tom Jellet

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Whale in the Bath

ISBN: 9781743318584
Australian Pub.: October 2014
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: A & U Children
Subject: Picture books
Suitable for ages: 3-6

RRP $19.95

In a joyful exploration of imagination, Kylie and Tom romp riotously through Bruno’s bathtime – which is somewhat impeded due to there being a whale in the bath!

Sent upstairs for his bath, Bruno finds a very large, very blue whale overflowing the edges of the bathtub, using, if you don’t mind, Bruno’s bubblegum scented bubblebath! How RUDE!

Poor Bruno tries to explain this fishy situation to his sister, big brother, his mum and finally his dad but no one believes him. Just because last week he had said there was a bear under his bed, and on Dad’s birthday he had seen a walrus in the backyard seems no just reason to disbelieve his whale tale.

Sanguinely, the whale takes his time with his ablutions despite Bruno’s protestations. After all, it’s not easy washing all your bits when the bath seems bucket-sized to the bather. When things start to get a little heated (and not just the bath water) because Bruno still has not had his bath, the laidback whale comes up with a very ‘splashy solution’.

With a fabulous text and Tom Jellet’s outstanding illustrations, this is a marvellous read-aloud for little folk and a humorous take on children’s imaginations. It could easily springboard to joint writing of other situations – brushing teeth? Getting dressed for school? Taking out the rubbish?

Highly recommended for ages 3 and up – and all bath procrastinators!

Find a great colour-in sheet here. Visit Kylie’s webpage and find out more about her work.