Goldie Roth struggles with the constraints (both literal and otherwise) that are placed on her by her family and her community. She knows they are for her own good, to protect her from any danger or evil that she might encounter. But in Jewel, the line between protection and oppression has been crossed, and Goldie has to break free. When she does, she discovers the Museum of Dunt, a place full of magic and mystery…
In those days, the museum had four keepers – Herro Dan, Olga Ciavolga, Sinew, and the boy Toadspit. In ordinary times, they would have been enough to keep the museum and its secrets safe. But these were not ordinary times.
Trouble was coming. The signs were unmistakable. The keepers did not know where it was coming from, or when it would strike. But it was clear that it would not be easily stopped.
Using all his skills of Concealment, Sinew set out to find a child who could be trained as an extra keeper. Six of the children he spied on turned out to be unsuitable. The seventh (according to her official file) was disobedient and wilful. She had worn the punishment chains three times already, and the year had barely begun.
Goldie Roth struggles with the constraints (both literal and otherwise) that are placed on her by her family and her community. She knows they are for her own good, to protect her from any danger or evil that she might encounter. But in Jewel, the line between protection and oppression has been crossed, and Goldie has to break free. When she does, she discovers the Museum of Dunt, a place full of magic and mystery. There she meets the keepers, those who look after the museum. The museum is a place unlike any Goldie has encountered, with shifting rooms and danger. Goldie and the keepers must protect the museum, and by doing so, protect themselves, their families and the rest of Jewel.
There are many who suggest that children today are so over-protected that they lack the opportunities to develop their own sense of reality, danger and independence. In Jewel, the children are protected fiercely, so that they not fall prey to mythical beasts, environmental hazards (like water) or any other danger. To that end, those who question or baulk at the loving restraints are punished by Guardians. Parents are full of fearful love, and the Guardians work to squash any sense of rebellion. Museum of Thieves is a wild adventure about the dangers of too much protection, too much containment. But it’s also about the endurance and resilience of children who, given encouragement, are capable of anything. A terrific read, for upper primary and beyond. Look out for instalment two of this adventure, The City of Lies, now on sale.
Museum of Thieves (The Keepers), Lian Tanner
Allen & Unwin 2011
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
This book is available from good bookstores or online from Fishpond.
Australia has a great tradition of ‘big things’ by the roadside: large sculptures or statues that serve as advertising or structures in their own right. Many were designed as, or have evolved into tourist attractions. There are more than 150 ‘big things’ in Australia. Here are some from all around the country. The Big Blue Heeler
This 2.4 metre dog lives at Muswellbrook and was created with many in the community playing a role. Weighing over 150 kg, and made from fibreglass and steel, local artist Charlotte Drake-Brockman painted the heeler modelled on her own dog, ALF.
Ever wondered what the world’s fastest flying insect is? Or where the wind blows fastest? What about which country drinks the most juice? Well, wonder no more. That information and much more is here in the Australian and World Records 2011. You can also plan your trip around Australia to visit every one of the ‘big things’. There’s the big mozzie (not sure that’s a great advert for your town) and the Big Redback Spider. Blitz your next trivia event with the depth of your random knowledge. You will know which country recycles the most steel and which whale dives deepest. So much information, presented in a large novel-size paperback, divided into subject headings and featuring colour photos on every page. Also included are the four ‘runners-up’ in each category.
Australian and World Records 2011 brings the weird and wonderful to young readers. There are records for popular culture, with most played songs and Xbox games. There are sports records and movie records. In short there is something for everyone. There’s even a record for the amusement park with the most rides. Readers will enjoy the range of records portrayed here. Comparisons will be made with other well-known record books, but the strong Australian presence here will appeal. This is a book ideal for dipping (made easy by the colour-coded chapter page edges), but others will find it addictive and have to read right through! Recommended for readers who love facts and trivia.
Australian and World Records 2011, Jennifer Corr Morse & David G Harris
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
Tom has a new goat called Ernie. Ernie doesn’t seem happy until he’s allowed out of his pen to play with the dog.
Together goat and dog have lots of fun – but they also get into loads of trouble. If Tom can’t get Ernie to behave, he might have to give him away. Can Ernie prove he really is a dog-goat?
What a Goat is an easy to read Solo title, from Omnibus books. Written with beginning readers in mind, these books are perfect for the transition from picture books to novels. What a Goat is a fun read.
What a Goat, by Narelle Oliver, illustrated by David Cox
Omnibus Books, 2003
Ron always does the wrong things at the wrong time, or the right things at the wrong time, or the wrong things at the right time. Like kicking the winning goal – for the other team. Or forgetting to add water to the cordial. But when he adopts a guinea-pig called Charlie, at least he’s not so lonely any more.
When a girl called Isabelle moves in next door, she thinks Ron is interesting and Charlie is cool. When Ron meets Isabelle’s grandma, who is sad and lonely and refuses to go outside, Ron plans a special welcome for her. Of course, with Ron doing the planning, not everything goes right, but Ron discovers that sometimes the wrong way can turn out right.
Do-Wrong Ron is a special story in verse, written by poet Steven Herrick. Children aged seven to ten will love the novelty of a novel written in free verse, a format which allows Herrick to cut to the chase with the story. This would be an ideal class novel and introduction to petry. Themes include friendship, community, loneliness and self-image.
Do-wrong Ron, by Steven Herrick
Allen & Unwin, 2003.