To See The World, by Elaine Forrestal

This was not the great adventure I had anticipated. I wanted to swim back to my mother, to feel her arms around me, to smell the delicious spicy fish she would be cooking instead of this disgusting mixture of stale milk and filthy toilets. The wind roared in the rigging. The waves slapped the hull so hard that I knew I would be battered to death immediately if I jumped into the sea. My mother always complained that I would drive her crazy; I was so careless and afraid of nothing. But I am not stupid. Although my heart was aching and I desperately wanted to go home, I would never let the sea take me.

Jose has lived all of his life on the island of Mauritius, but his father has arranged for him to travel and work on board the ship Uranie. Jose anticipates a life of seeing interesting places and having adventures. He doesn’t expect to meet a woman on the ship. It is 1818 and women are not allowed to join naval expeditions, but Rose de Freycinet has decided she cannot bear to be apart from her husband, and besides, she wants an adventure of her own. Jose is not impressed. Rose wants to teach him to read and write and her very presence makes ship life more dangerous. But as their journey continues, a friendship develops between the two, and Jose becomes as loyal as most of the other sailors.

To See the World is the fictionalised account of the journey of French ship Uranie which attempted to circumnavigate the world and conduct scientific research. Rose de Freycinet, the wife of the expedition leader, Louis, became the first woman to write an account of such a circumnavigation, including their encounters with pirates, and cannibals, and their shipwrecking on the Falkland Islands. While this is a work of fiction, the character of Jose is based on a real boy, and the events of the story use real events, drawing on journals and other documents. Each chapter of the book opens with an image or painting from the time, from the National Library of Australia’s collection.

Suitable for middle and upper primary aged readers, To See the World is an intriguing tale of history, travel and an adventurous woman.

 

To See the World, by Elaine Forrestal
NLA Publishing, 2014
ISBN 9780642278494

Available from good bookstores and online .

Rainbow Jackets, by Elaine Forrestal

The bubbles at Jonathon’s house had a problem. With all the day-to-day noise of the household, the bubbles couldn’t hear each other speak. They longed for a quiet place where they could go and chat. When Jonathon and his Mum bought a bubble blower and some bubble mix, the bubbles were in for a lovely surpirse.

Bubbles is just one of the charming tales in Rainbow Jackets by award-winning West Australian author Elaine Forrestal. Others tell the stories of pet flies, cranky umbrellas and crazy kitchens.

Complemented by the cute line-drawings of illustrator Sharon Thompson, Rainbow Jackets will delight children aged 5 to 8 and would be an excellent book for classroom sharing.

This is the second book of short stories from the Forrestal/Thompson pairing. A Glassful of Giggles was launched at the 2002 CBCA National Conference in Perth.

Both collections are full of whimsical delights.

Rainbow Jackets, by Elaine Forrestal
Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2003

The Watching Lake, by Elaine Forrestal

Bryn and his family have just moved in to a house near the lake. It is an interesting place to live. There are horses on the property next door, and Bryn especially likes a big grey one, Tiffany, the ghost-horse.

Bryn’s big brother Chad likes it here too. He makes friends with Carey, the girl next door, and the other kids from the neighbourhood, and is soon involved in building a cubby house and playing games which don’t include Bryn

When he’s near the lake Bryn feels like he’s being watched. He feels something, something different, but he can’t quite grasp what it is. Carey says that Welsh Morgan is always watching. Welsh Morgan owns the market garden next door. The children see him working in the garden, and Bryn meets him early one morning, but Bryn isn’t sure that it’s Welsh Morgan who makes him feel this way.

Carey tells Bryn and Chad that Morgan’s wife died mysteriously many years ago, and that Morgan says she was taken by the Min Min – strange but beautiful lights which beckon people to their deaths. Of course, the children know that the Min Min can’t be real.

The Watching Lake, by Elaine Forrestal is a poignant, touching story about childhood and about growing up. First released by Puffin Australia in 1991, it has now been re-released by Fremantle Arts Centre Press, a recognition that this timeless story will continue to appeal to readers.

Forrestal has a knack of deftly exploring the minds and emotions of her young characters, whilst still painting believable and rounded adult characters. Welsh Morgan, the mysterious hermit, is a character who will not only appeal to children but teach them a subtle awareness that ‘different’ is not always bad.

The Watching Lake is an outstanding novel.

The Watching Lake, by Elaine Forrestal
Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2002

A Glassful of Giggles, by Elaine Forrestal

Everyone knows that you can’t catch the giggles – they just happen. Or do they? When Jarrad has a glassful of giggles for breakfast, everyone – everyone – seems to catch them. First his Mum and Dad, then, when he gets to school, all his school mates, and his teacher. The giggles keep spreading through the school, until finally, even the principal catches them. Whatever will they do?

A Glassful of Giggles is the title story in a new collection of short stories for young readers. Filled with giggles, green pigs, giants and noisy cupboards, these stories will appeal to children in the early years of primary school.

As a series of self contained stories, this type of book is excellent for children making the transition from picture books to chapter books. the large print and abundance of illustration serves a bridging function between the two formats.

Elaine Forrestal has won awards for her previous works, including the Australian Book Council Book of the Year Award for Younger Readers, for Someone Like Me. Illustrator Sharon Thompson is, in addition to being an illustrator, a kindergarten teacher.

A Glassful of Giggles
is a great offering for young readers.

A Taste

Grundle went walking, to see what was happening. The countryside trembled, he shook all the trees. But that wasn’t good enough. Not really scary. The magpies kept chattering and refused to be teased.
How could an apple green pig frighten anyone?

A Glassful of Giggles, by Elaine Forrestal
Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2002