We've had an unproofed edition out the back of the bookshop where I work, so I decided to take it home and read it. Lovely title; great cover picture.We've had an unproofed edition out the back of the bookshop where I work, so I decided to take it home and read it. Lovely title; great cover picture.
This story is set in Sydney, Australia during the Second World War. Columba - named after a nun who had been very special to her mother - gives her child's view of home (where there's just the three of them tiptoeing around each other), friends (especially Hilda, who is always decisive and who has an amazing and noisy family), and school (with the unfortunate headmaster who lost their trust because he stated categorically that Paris would never fall, and of course it did). Then a new boy arrives - he's called Ellery, though that isn't his name. He's pale and silent (can't speak English). And next door a blue cat adopts the elderly sisters.
What a lovely story. The voice is excellent, the history is supported with some original documents (and there's an endpiece with a note from the author and specific details, etc.), and the pace is just right.
The unproofed edition had a ending that I didn't like, but I'm delighted to say that the copies for sale inside the shop have an altered ending - and it's perfect!...more
**spoiler alert** This book is about a girl who spends weekdays with her totally miserly grandfather in his house with an outside loo and electricity**spoiler alert** This book is about a girl who spends weekdays with her totally miserly grandfather in his house with an outside loo and electricity only for the fridge. She doesn't fit in with the girls at school so plays the fool to get the boys to laugh, and is constantly getting in trouble with the teachers. Then she spends weekends with her father (he's out of town at work Mon-Fri).
Suddenly one of the girls at school is befriending her - why?! And a widow is making eyes at her grandfather, who actually has tons and tons of money in the bank. No need to ask why for that one!
There are some very funny moments in this book, and on top of that it's a nice story about friendship and about figuring things out. A good read....more
This is a story about loyalty and friendship and misunderstandings, and takes us through several weeks when Ari and her older brother Gage are homelesThis is a story about loyalty and friendship and misunderstandings, and takes us through several weeks when Ari and her older brother Gage are homeless. Gage and their guardian were just always at loggerheads, and once he turned 18 he could look after Ari himself. On her deathbed, Ari's mother had made them promise to always stay together, and so of course Ari agreed to go with him when he said he had an apartment for them to go to.
Being homeless in the city is okay if you have a friend's place to bunk down in - but they can't overstay their welcome at any one place. Then there are the homeless shelters, but they're not supposed to take kids under 12 (Ari is 9, if I remember without looking at the book (which is now back at the library)). And going to school in unlaundered clothes isn't fun.
Told in Ari's voice, this touches on some difficult themes but does so in a way that engages the reader and ultimately gives hope. I enjoyed this very much....more
I've actually read this before - we have it in the shop where I work - and find it lovely. So I decided to check it out on the grandchildren (9, 8, anI've actually read this before - we have it in the shop where I work - and find it lovely. So I decided to check it out on the grandchildren (9, 8, and 6 - none of us are prejudiced against picture books just because they are aimed at younger readers) and they all gave it the thumbs up. James enjoyed the bratty brother page (yes, he has his own tendencies to brattiness); Ivy thought the sister poking her chips into the fan was the best part (and another yes, that could well be something Ivy would enjoy doing); Zenobia thought the ending was the best bit, with all the dinosaurs at their retirement home (hmm, yes she's very much a people person). So, an all round success....more