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Walkabout
 
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James Vance Marshall
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Walkabout

3.49  ·  Rating Details ·  1,573 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
A plane crashes in the vast Northern Territory of Australia,
and the only survivors are two children from Charleston, South Carolina, on their way to visit their uncle in Adelaide. Mary and her younger brother Peter set out on foot, lost in the vast, hot Australian outback. They are saved by a chance meeting with an Aboriginal boy on walkabout, who teaches them to find food
...more
Published (first published January 1st 1959)
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(showing 1-30)
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Sana  Khalid °¤°
School required reading. Which is surprisingly engrossing.

I'm going to be honest here, I actually did enjoy this quite a lot. I know, for some people reading for school makes a book less fun for them because of all the analyzing every little thing, quizzes on every chapter etc etc, but for me when my teacher explains all those little things about the book, it's actually interesting. I like it when my teachers ask us those "pointless" questions about the book and I absolutely love answering the q
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Darryl
Jan 15, 2012 Darryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel was written by Donald G. Payne by 1959, who used the pseudonym James Vance Marshall, in honor of a man who lived in the outback of Australia and collaborated with Payne in its creation. Walkabout did not receive much attention until 1971, after a movie based on the book, but not faithful to it, was released, to critical acclaim.

Eleven year old Mary and her eight year old brother Peter are residents of Charleston, South Carolina who find themselves stranded after their Adelaide-bound p
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Rebecca McNutt
With themes of nature and survival, this book set in the Australian outback is both vivid and intense, and as the two stranded siblings start to trust their new friend, it becomes a story about friendship and growing up.
Nandini
Jul 11, 2014 Nandini rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Walkabout was the very first book I was ever assigned for school. I remember very little of the discussions my class had about the book, but vividly recall almost every page of the book itself.

I'm surprised at people saying nothing happens in the book because in my mind, each plot point and each detail of Peter and Mary's interactions with the bush boy stand out clearly even 17-18 years after I read it: Mary clucking like a mother hen around Peter, the bush boy teaching the city kids to get wat
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Sarah
5/7 - This was a set book for literature in about Year 9. Thinking about it now, over a decade later, after only reading it that one time, I'm surprised at how many details of the plot I remember. I didn't love it or hate it, landing at either end of the rating scale usually being the best way to make a book memorable. The 'just okay' books, of which Walkabout was one (from what I remember) tend to be the ones I forget. I'm interested to see if I get more out of this than I did as a 15-year-old. ...more
Melinda
May 12, 2014 Melinda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014

Walkabout is a story of diversity, three children's experience of life through great diversity - culturally, environmentally, racially and rite of passage, death is also addressed.

The arid desolate, barren land of Australia's Northern Territory is vividly described explaining the difficult surrounding Mary and Peter contended with, while bush boy was one with nature, again contrasts tying the story together.

"Sturt Plain, where the aircraft had crashed, is in the centre of the Northern Terri
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Nikki
Apr 08, 2013 Nikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not entirely sure why I read this book. Maybe because it was reissued by NYRB, and I find it difficult to pass up their titles used? I bought this book at Barnes & Noble. If you live in the Twin Cities and find yourself in possession of a Barnes & Noble giftcard, I highly recommend checking out the HarMar location. They have used books! Wonderful, glorious used books. Not the best selection and not particularly well-priced, but used books nonetheless. Walking in to HarMar it's fun to ...more
Jackie (Farm Lane Books)
Walkabout is a classic book about two American children who become stranded in the Australian outback after a plane crash. They are rescued by an Aboriginal boy who teaches them how to survive in this difficult climate. It is a short, easy read that is written for children, but I think this powerful book deserves an adult audience too.

Walkabout was first published in 1959. It reads like an Australian classic, but was actually written by an English author who spent time studying the country. The
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Ali Adenwala
This was a short, mildly enjoyable book. Throughout most of the story almost nothing happens, except for the death of the bush boy, and it continues that way until the end of the book. The first half was thoroughly captivating but along the way it got way too repetitive in its descriptions of the Australian outback (though very well written), and it didn’t really feel like it was going anywhere. It had a good message about cultural differences and acceptance but Marshal could have taken it a bit ...more
Jalawa
Jan 11, 2016 Jalawa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very enjoyable read. There were so many life lessons in such a small book. Language and race is only a problem when one allows it to be a problem. When one is taught that it is a problem. One must learn for themselves the meaning of what life is supposed to be. When this is done, only then will unity, love and peace exist.
Caramel12
Sep 10, 2014 Caramel12 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first introduction to Aboriginal culture and Australia in general. I first picked this book up in the 4th grade and have very fond memories of reading it 5 times. That's how spellbound I became with this book and till today though I look at it with new eyes and understanding, it yet still holds a fond place in my heart.
Karen Witzler
Mar 08, 2014 Karen Witzler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read in the early Seventies. I love the Nicolas Roeg film, too, even though it changes some plot essentials.
Dave
Sep 21, 2016 Dave rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Lovely idea of children rescued in the Australian Bush by Aboriginal boy. But very dated writing--very patronizing towards the boy, very ridiculously English "American" children, and very romanticized version of children and Australia both. The book wants to be a psychological study, a travel guide, an allegory, and a moral fable. The best parts are when it just wants to be a story. There aren't enough of those.
Wendy Jackson
Sep 19, 2016 Wendy Jackson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four-star rating for a few reasons: (1) The book is a memorable one from when I was in school, and was so different than anything else I had read at the time; (2) The book contains some excellent wildlife descriptions (lyre bird scene is great - and I would recommend checking out youtube footage if you cannot picture it); and (3) While the whole 'noble savage' aspect of the book is anachronistic (among other things), it is probably one of the more respectful portrayals of Australian indigenous p ...more
Valerie
At the time I read this, I didn't make a connection with the Burke and Wills expedition. I was once told a story about an Aboriginal man who showed up in an abandoned settlement during WWII, and, finding nobody there, led his family through the Outback to another settlement, arriving with all well-fed and healthy. His guide? Old stories told around campfires in his childhood.

Burke and Wills, on the other hand, died from having arrived at their appointed rendezvous a mere 9 HOURS too late. If the
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Nicola
Feb 22, 2012 Nicola rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Zwei weiße Kinder treffen im australischen Outback auf einen Aborigine Jungen, der ihnen hilft, in der Wildnis zu überleben. Er zeigt ihnen, wie man Feuer macht, Essen findet und führt sie zu Wasserlöchern. Der Aborigine befindet sich gerade auf dem Walkabout, einem traditionellen Ritual der Mannwerdung.

Zum einen wird die australische Landschaft mit ihrer faszinierenden Tier- und Pflanzenwelt beschrieben, zum anderen treffen zwei völlig verschiedene Kulturen aufeinander: zwei weiße Kinder aus de
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Tom
Jan 24, 2012 Tom marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Had never heard of this novel until reading review in NYRB, which I gather is actually the Intro to new NYRB edition. Siegel's intro also comments on a film version of the novel, which, though it sounds interesting in its own right, departs in some significant ways from the book (but then, don't they all ... or most) but that difference only highlighted the appeal of the novel. Sounds like another literary resurrection from NYRB worthy of our celebration and gratitude (and another cool cover, wh ...more
Kristen
This short novel is notable for its really remarkable descriptions of the Australian landscape, as well as the sheer sadness and loveliness of the central storyline. I found Marshall's overall style to be a bit heavy-handed at times: the contrasts drawn between the Aboriginal boy and the American children (who are named Peter and Mary, leaving me to assume that the Aboriginal is the sacrificial Christ figure here, of pure goodness, dying for the sins of civilization) were hardly subtle. Still, f ...more
3wash_alk3bi
This is the story of an Aboriginal boy's walkabout and two American children lost in the Australian bush. When they meet, Mary and Peter learn about the desert. They follow the boy to food and water. Now they have finish their journey home!
Marts  (Thinker)
Apr 23, 2009 Marts (Thinker) rated it liked it
An unusual story about an american girl and brother lost in the Australian outback and the aborigine they meet.
Josephine
Dec 07, 2012 Josephine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully illustrative of the aboriginal outback, beautiful imagery and a simple classic story for young adults. I would have loved if this was longer.
Allison
Jan 03, 2017 Allison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, australia
Five stars for the description of Australian landscapes, flora, and fauna, one star for frequent use of the word "darky"...

I'm being glib, but I do think this little novel is a good example of why we need diverse authors to tell diverse stories. I'm not sure that the middle-aged Englishman who wrote this novel really firmly grasps or can express the inner life of preadolescent girls from the American south, and I know for darn sure he doesn't know much about Aboriginal Australians. I found mysel
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Fatema Al-Sabbagh
Dec 12, 2016 Fatema Al-Sabbagh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After surviving a tragic event while heading to their family, 14 year old Mary an Peter her 6 year old brother, land in the Australian desert. There they set of in multiple direction trying to find their way home. They soon discover that there is very little chance of survival because of scarce supplies. With their desire of returning extinguished, they soon regain hope as they meet a young aboriginal boy. The boy, who is on his walkabout (A journey in which all 16 year old aboriginal boys must ...more
Autumn W.
Nov 02, 2016 Autumn W. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who want to DIE of Boredom or likes to read 3 pages of bird discription
Shelves: don-t-like
It is the WORST book I have ever read.The author describes every single animals movement and appearance in the entire world for 10 pages.The book is very racist,I get that it's older but it's really racist.The ending is Horrible.There is absolutely no point of the last 10 pages.One of the characters is a girl named Mary.Mary is very annoying,hard to like and lazy high school girl.She is jealous of everything and is so concerned about herself.She acts so helpless!!!! I really don't recommend this ...more
Prakash
Nov 01, 2016 Prakash rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am glad that I didn't dismiss this book as a "children's book". The untold eeyorish story between the lines is disturbingly dark and ends abruptly ... of course the story itself is a 50 year old adventure story for children, but coupled with the impressive description of the aboriginal outback, the story has a dreamy dark texture which i absolutely loved. I am intrigued as to how the 'Lord of the flies' fandom missed this one.
Trina
Nov 15, 2016 Trina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good read for children.
Concise yet there is a lot of detail about their surroundings and the characters are very believable. Their dialogue, actions and reactions are age appropriate and culturally realistic.
J2e
Oct 16, 2016 J2e rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was written in the 1950s and some of the attitudes expressed are patronising, typical noble savage stuff. Actually the worst part was his so-called knowledge of Australian nature. Platypuses, lyre-birds, brush turkeys and Banksia in the Sturt Desert? The idea that Mary and the Aboriginal boy have a simple cultural failure in communication that leads to tragedy is good, but overall this book is dated and doesn't hold up well.
Lincoln Wong
Walkabout is simply about two American children, Mary and Peter, are stranded in the middle of pretty much nowhere (well not really, somewhere in the Australian Outback). As they attempt to survive the harsh environment, they meet an Aborigine (whose name isn't mentioned since we don't know his language too well) and he helps them survive the outback. But something unfortunate happens...

Since this novel was written in the 1950's, a lot of terms use for other races are used that are considered ra
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Austen to Zafón
Interesting premise: After a small-plane crash in the Australian bush, the pilot and co-pilot die leaving only the passengers: a boy, Peter, age 9 and his sister Mary, age 14. After witnessing the death of both adults, eating the only food they have (a barley sugar stick), and drinking from a gully, they decide they must head for their original destination, Adelaide, where an uncle lives. Soon they realize that it's a lot further than they thought and that they have no idea how to survive. Enter ...more
Yannis
Sep 26, 2016 Yannis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think that this book is one of the best books i read so far. The book was very interesting and you couldn't stop reading.
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Pseudonym of Donald Gordon Payne.
He lives in Surrey, England, and has four sons and one daughter.

The Children, later known as Walkabout, though published under the name James Vance Marshall, was actually written by the English author Donald Gordon Payne as were a number of Payne's later works for children. The Children and other works were apparently based on Marshall's travel notes and diaries,
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More about James Vance Marshall...

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