Vinnie's War, by David McRobbie

Vinnie didn’t want to be in this place, not with hundreds of miserable kids crowding around him. Everywhere he looked they were sobbing and carrying on as if their hearts would break. Their mums, too, were upset, and who could blame them: It wasn’t every day a mother had to say goodbye to her children, then send them away on a train to wherever.

Vinnie’s life has been tough for a long time. Even before World War II. He never knew his father and his mother struggled to survive then died when he was eleven years old. Then there was only Aunt Vera. Aunt Vera who burnt his clothes and made him wear too-big green velvet trousers and night-shirts. They fought continually until finally she threatened to send him to an orphanage and he ran away. He finds kindness and work and even a piano teacher in a local pub for a short while. When London is bombed, he too is evacuated to the country with thousands of other children. The villagers, adult and children, are not all welcoming of the ‘vaccies’, and life in the country has its challenges. But Vinnie and the other ‘vaccies’ look after one another and he develops strong friendships. He also continues and extends his recently-discovered love of music.

It’s hard to imagine being sent away from your family for an unknown duration to places where you may be unwelcome. Add suspicion, shortages, blackouts and the threat of being bombed, and life would have been very tough for children evacuated from London during the Blitz. For main character Vinnie, it’s a continuation of an uncertain life, where he has to prove himself to everyone. He’s strongwilled but hardworking, rough around the edges but honest. And not everyone around him is evil or mean. ‘Vinnie’s War’ portrays a difficult time in England when tough decisions were made. Villagers were often suspicious of the ‘vaccies’ and some were less than kind. But there were good people too. Themes include family, making your own luck, honesty and opportunity. Vinnie is a gutsy character and will have the reader hoping that he gets the lucky break he so deserves. Recommended for upper primary readers.

Vinnie's War

Vinnie’s War, David McRobbie
Allen & Unwin 2011
ISBN: 9781742375762

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

This book can be purchased in good bookstores or online from Fishpond.

A Whole Lot of Wayne, by David McRobbie

If our book could talk, Wayne, I wonder what it would say? I bet it would say, ‘Don’t just stand there, buy me!’

Wayne tells the stories of his adolescence, his friends, family, best jokes and biggest blunders. Wayne and Squocka get into all sorts of adventures and misadventures. A hilarious snapshot of life, love and friendship.

A Whole Lot of Wayne is a hilarious comedic anthology told from the viewpoint of Wayne that’s great for kids aged 9 to 13. Lots of laughs and good times await the reader of this fantastic book.

A hilarious anthology.

A Whole Lot of Wayne

A Whole Lot of Wayne, by David McRobbie
Allen and Unwin, 2007

This book can be purchased online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Eugenie Sandler P.I., by David McRobbie

Eugenie Sandler just wants to be a normal teenager. Tired of moving and hiding regularly when her father’s work as a private investigator becomes tricky, Eugenie longs for the chance to stay in one place long enough to make some friends and perhaps even have a boyfriend. All that seems pretty unlikely when Eugenie’s father disappears mysteriously. Suddenly Eugenie’s life is even more haphazard than she could ever have imagined.

As she searches for her father, Eugenie realises that she is being followed. Someone is trying to capture her, possibly even to kill her. And, as she tries to unravel the truth, she realises that there is a mystery in her past which could have devastating consequences for her future.

Eugenie Sandler P.I. is a novelisation of a television series which screened on ABC television in 2001. It has a balance of mystery, soul-searching and light romance which will be very appealing for teenagers. The voice of Rachael Blake as reader is clear and appropriate for the subject matter and target audience. Available on 5 audio tapes, Eugenie Sandler P.I. runs for 5 hours and thirty minutes.

Eugenie Sandler P.I., by David McRobbie, read by Rachael Blake
ABC Audio, 2002