The orphan joey nuzzled my pullover and curled into a soft ball. It felt like his mother’s pouch. But the smoke from the burning canes drifted close and the joey tried to jump out of my arms. Smoke frightened him.
Brendon is working with his dad on their raspberry farm when they find an orphaned rat-kangaroo. Brendon takes it home and cares for it. Soon Ras (as he comes to be known) is part of the family, but Brendon and his sister Fiona both know that eventually they will have to return Ras to the wild, where he belongs.
Looking after Ras isn’t always easy, but it is very rewarding. Letting him go isn’t easy either. Brendon isn’t sure he’ll ever get over missing Ras.
Raspberry Rat is a chapter book for 8 to 10 year old readers. Part of the Breakers series from Macmillan Education, it is suitable both for classroom use and for private reading. Many children will be unfamiliar with rat-kangaroos and will enjoy learning about them as they read the book.
A good read.
Raspberry Rat, by Robert Moore
Macmillan Education, 2003
Fiona lives on the family farm with her parents and big brother. Up the hill, and on the same farm, is her grandparents’ house. Fiona loves to help her Gran and Grandpa with milking and churning and their other jobs, but lately she’s noticed some changes. Grandpa is having trouble breathing and is getting slower. Gran seems to be getting more and more forgetful.
Map is a story about farm life in Tasmania in the 1950s, but it is also a story of the problems associated with ageing and with keeping a family functioning. Young readers will be interested in the differences between farm life in the middle of last century and their own lifestyles in the new millennium. They will also enjoy the story of young Map, the new calf born to one of the family’s cows in the course of the novel.
Map will be a challenging read for many primary aged students, with a recommended reading age of 12 and a style which is more formal than many children’s novels. It is part of the Breakers series from Macmillan Education, suitable both for classroom and private reading.
Map, by Robert Moore
Macmillan Education, 2004