In the dead of night we run away.
Dad hoists the new pack over my shoulders. I rub at my eyes, drag sleep-flattened hair into a rough ponytail, then trail him out the door. It clicks softly behind us. Dad’s twitchy. I’m twisted in knots.
Mackenzie’s mum is missing. It’s been 114 days since she was last scene in remote Panama. Most people think she must be dead, but Mackenzie’s dad is convinced she is still alive. Without telling Nan, or anyone else, he wakes Mackenzie in the dead of night and takes her to Panama where, he is sure, they will uncover the truth. But, while Mackenzie’s Dad is desperate to find Mum, Mackenzie is desperate to make sure he doesn’t, and that they don’t uncover too much information.
Missing is an emotional, absorbing read. The blend of mystery, adventure and emotion make for an enticing combination which won’t let readers put it down. With chapters set ‘now’ , as Mackenzie deals with her Dad’s desperation and unbalanced approach to solving the mystery, interspersed with chapters set ‘then’, in the days surrounding Mum’s disappearance, and in the months since, as Mackenzie and her father and grandmother struggle to deal with the situation, the format allows readers to gradually piece together what has happened, and to travel with Mackenzie as she moves closer to the truth.
The balance between action and emotion is done well, making for a satisfying, if heart-churning read.
Missing, by Sue Whiting
Walker Books, 2018
Fiction meets non-fiction in ‘Warambi’ and the reader follows the journey of a tiny bat from birth to maturity. Young readers will empathise with the plight of the little bat and learn about a lesser-known, and infrequently seen Australian native animal.
Deep in a forest, hidden in a warm, dark cave, a tiny bat was born.
Warambi, tiny bent-wing bat, is born into a colony of bats and spends her early days there, safe and protected. Her mother and others help her learn the skills she will need to survive. But when their colony is threatened, panic and confusion lead to Warambi losing track of her mother, of everyone. Her place of shelter is warm and dry, but there are dangers everywhere for the young bat. But she at least is lucky. She finds her way back to the wild, and the chance of establishing a new family. Illustrations are realistic and painterly and evoke the darkness and danger of the night
Fiction meets non-fiction in ‘Warambi’ and the reader follows the journey of a tiny bat from birth to maturity. Young readers will empathise with the plight of the little bat and learn about a lesser-known, and infrequently seen Australian native animal. The text is gentle without glossing over the dangers of survival, and Andrew Plant’s illustrations are deliciously detailed from the tiny ears to the gossamer-thin wings of the little bent-wing bat. Story-lovers will enjoy the story and the hopeful outcome, and little naturalists will also enjoy the facts that decorate the endpapers. Recommended for early primary readers.
Warambi, Aleesah Darlison Andrew Plant
Working Title Press 2011
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
This book can be purchased in good bookstores or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.