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The Watertower

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  346 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
Nobody in Preston could remember when the watertower was built, or who had built it, but there it stood on Shooter's Hill -- its iron legs rusted, its egg-shaped tank warped and leaking -- casting a long dark shadow across the valley, across Preston itself.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 1st 1999 by Crocodile Books (first published 1994)
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A.D. Mercer
Nov 18, 2013 A.D. Mercer rated it it was amazing
The ‘Watertower’ is essentially a graphic novel or visual text, making use of both words and art to impart the story. The books itself centres around two boys who decide to explore an old water tower, which towers over the small mid American town of Preston. The Water tower dominates the town, standing high upon Shooter’s hill.
Two Boys, Spike and Bubba decide to investigate the tower during an especially hot summer’s day, hoping to enjoy the perceived coolness of the water within. The power of t
Helen Morrison
Apr 11, 2011 Helen Morrison rated it it was amazing
This is actually one of the most freightening things I have ever read. I was 11 at the time and I experienced sleepless night after night after reading it. This probably should be embarrassing to admit but honestly I dont care. TWAS AMAZING
Brittani Troutman
This book draws you in right from the beginning with the cover. The cover is eerie and also has some foreshadowing to what is to come. This is a great mystery book for children and I really believe that older children will love it.

In the book two young boys named Bubba and Scott decide to go swimming in the water tower on Shooters Hill. The water tower is eerie and the pictures show green water and creepy images. These pictures give you the feeling that something bad may happen to the boys. Aft
Nov 24, 2015 Stephanie rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 30, 2012 Brad rated it really liked it
This book drew me in by the eery cover. I was also anxious to see how anyone could make a water tower interesting. The story is set in the small town of Preston, with the Water Tower sitting atop Shooter’s Hill. The two main characters, Spike Trotter and Bubba D’Angelo got together one day and headed to the water tower to swim. The illustrations did a great job of continuing to depict the eery feel that the author wanted his readers to feel; one picture would show the outside bright and cheery w ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I liked the creepiness of this little tale, and the way you have to hold the book sideways at times, changing angles. The watertower seems like a harmless place to escape the scorching heat, if you're careful. Spike climbs right into the tank, but something makes Bubba a little nervous, a bit hesitant. The pictures tell a great deal of the story here (hint--watch the eyes!). The ending--well, it's kind of up to the reader to decide, I think. The Children's Book Council of Australia named this th ...more
Well, that was creepy as sin...

The book is cleverly designed, forcing the reader to rotate it and simulating the round shape of the watertower itself. The result is left vague purposely. We have no idea what the watertower is (though its semblance to a b-movie UFO stands out), or what it was that Bubba saw, or what is different about everyone in town besides the obvious fact they now all look like psychopathic, murderous puppets. I'm sure there are kids (older ones) who will find this a fun, sca
Apr 15, 2015 Jessica rated it it was amazing
WHAT THE HELL?! Apparently this is an excellent book for children to read and study, according to SOMEONE's primary ed student boyfriend, it is a great book to talk about and discuss, and now I am sure of the fact that all adults really do is plant the seeds of fear and terror in the minds of small children. Fuck me. This is brilliant. Go read. Don't care what age you are, go and read it.
Daniel Smith
Nov 24, 2015 Daniel Smith rated it really liked it
Shelves: school-links, mystery, ks2
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 01, 2015 Alicia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, ya
I love water towers, so searched our library card catalog for water tower, and found this Australian "J" (juvenile) book.

I found it quite scary! Two boys go for a swim in a six legged water tower. It's old, warped, and leaking. The water doesn't seem the right color. I guess part of my fascination with water towers, is that they'd be creepy inside, and this plays that out!

The illustrations are amazing. The book starts sideways, where you turn the pages UP instead of OVER. One page illustrates
Dec 26, 2012 Emkoshka rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, illustrated, 1993
Back in junior school, our librarian used to read to us from books short-listed for the Children's Book Council of Australia awards each year and then we would have our own ballot to choose our favourite. One year this was one of the books shortlisted. It's stayed with me ever since because of the sheer creepiness of the tale – Gary Crew is well known for his dark stories – and the illustrations. Reading it again now I was pleased to find that it hits exactly the same spot as it did all those ye ...more
Jessica Maynard
Oct 31, 2012 Jessica Maynard rated it really liked it
This is a great mystery book for children. I watched the book trailer for this before I read it and I was excited to see what happened in the book. It starts out with Spike and Bubba going to the old watertower to take a swim. Bubba knew he wasn't supposed to be there but he went anyway. When they get there Spike hops in and Bubba is behind him. This is when the book became suspenseful and I started thinking about what was actually happening. Spike was in the water for some time before he would ...more
Joshua Cummins
Mar 20, 2013 Joshua Cummins rated it really liked it
One day, Bubba and Spike decide to climb to the top of an old water tower and go for a swim. They know they are not supposed to be there and that adds to the suspense. Once knee deep in the water, Bubba really gets paranoid and starts calling for Spike, without answer, leaving us to wonder if something terrible has happened. Bubba climbs out of the tank only to realize his pants have blown away. Once Spike comes up he agrees to run to Bubba's house, sneak in his window, and bring back another pa ...more
Erin Walker
Jul 10, 2012 Erin Walker rated it really liked it
Shelves: edsl-520
The Watertower by: Gary Crew (1994) -International/ Picture Book

The Watertower is a story about two friends Bubba and Scott who travel to the towns water tower on a hot summer day. They want to cool down but Bubba gets a bad feeling. When he comes out of the water his shorts are gone so Spike runs to get him some. While he's gone Bubba goes into the water. When he emerges there is a visable change in his appearance.

Themes: Friendship, Adventure, Trust, Taking Risks and Mystery

Teaching Options: I
This mysterious picture book for older readers was one that really grabbed my attention. Watertower written by Gary Crew is a very fascinating 32 page book that I strongly recommend to older children! This book starts out with two main characters, Bubba and Spike. They are venturing over to the old watertower in town in hopes to take a little swim. Knowing they arent supposed to be there only adds to the adrenaline the two boys are already feeling. Bubba especially knows he isn't supposed to be ...more
Feb 11, 2014 Gaby rated it really liked it
Why have I not read this book before? I look forward to sharing this with the grade six students and starting a discussion about what happens in the story.. It actually took me two reads and a flick through the illustrations to understand what was happening in the book. The illustrations are an important part of the story. I really enjoyed this one!
Stacy Slater
Looming over a small outback town somewhere in Australia is a water tower. One day, Bubba and Spike take a dip in its murky waters. Bubba's pants blow away and Spike runs to his house to bring him another pair. But something happens to Bubba while his friend is away...something that leaves him with the same staring eyes as the adults in the town and a replica of the symbol on the side of the water tower etched into his hand.

The plot is spare and simple, yet this is a surprisingly complicated boo
Sep 26, 2011 Leah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really interesting book. Mainly because I was left thinking, "what the heck just happened?" The story is about Spike and Bubba and how they go to cool off in the very old water tower just up the hill from their town. The amazing pictures give off the vibe that this water tower is the creepiest place ever.

The ending is not at all what I thought it would be and therefore lends itself to many different response activities. For example, the students reactions alone to just the ending wou
Meredith Trotter
Jul 17, 2012 Meredith Trotter rated it liked it
Shelves: international
Publication: 1994

Grade/Age: Ages 7 and up

Annotation: The water tower in a small town in Australia seems to always have been there. Two boys going swimming in it, and one comes out a very different sort of person.

Themes: Friendship, trust, adventure, taking risks and mystery

Ways to use the book:

Use it as a librarian in a lesson about visual literacy.

Use in a lesson about character development, given the significant change in Bubba from the beginning to the end of the story.

Symbolism - What does t
Oct 23, 2008 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great book. Some of Gary Crew's creepy stories work better than others. This one definitely works for me. I read through it then re-read straight away to thoroughly absorb the illustrations -- didn't want to miss a thing. Like the pilot episode of a new sci-fi, this book will have you looking for clues and wondering hours later ... what will happen, what did happen?

UPDATE -- Read this to the Grade 5/6's last week and I've never seen a book cause so much discussion and interest among kids.
Andrew Critchell
Mar 05, 2014 Andrew Critchell rated it it was amazing
I used this book for a creative writing session with 10 and 11 year old reluctant writers. The response was phenomenal and they were so engaged it was fantastic to see.
Britni Williams
Oct 03, 2015 Britni Williams rated it really liked it
For a children's picture book, it was pretty twisted. I'm not sure a younger child would really understand it, but reading it as an adult made my skin crawl a bit.
Jul 15, 2015 Catherine rated it it was amazing
I love this. It reminds me of the old black and white Twilight Zone tv programs. Very chilling.
Elijah Gomes
Jun 07, 2016 Elijah Gomes rated it liked it
The book and pictures were great

i would have liked to know what actually happenes
Hunter Iris
Jan 24, 2016 Hunter Iris rated it it was amazing
Gosh, so far the only book that's given me nightmares
Aug 02, 2016 Ying rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my, my-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Catia LM
Sep 18, 2015 Catia LM rated it really liked it
Very interesting and mysterious. Worth a read.
Lorenzo Basile
Aug 30, 2016 Lorenzo Basile rated it it was amazing
Always sends shivers down my spine...
Thomas Magarelli
Jun 07, 2016 Thomas Magarelli rated it really liked it
A lot of mystery made me think
Apr 01, 2015 Humphrey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bubba
This book is very nice for my children.
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Dr Gary Crew, author of novels, short stories and picture books for older children and young adults began his writing career in 1985, when he was a high school teacher. His books are challenging and intriguing, often based on non-fiction. As well as writing fiction, Gary is a Associate Professor in Creative Writing, Children's and Adult Literature, at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensla ...more
More about Gary Crew...

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