Often books which are aimed at competent readers have similar themes and stories. This tale, however, is so interesting that it catches the imagination of the reader, and commands attention. Holly is the main character and narrator, who is nearly 11 years old. The family relationships are fun, the school situation is normal, with friends and foes, but what sets this story apart is the fact that Holly’s Dad is a travel writer. One evening, when Holly is in bed, Mum and Dad offer her a trip to Malaysia to accompany her father.
Ms Devenport, the teacher, asked the children in the class to help her make a list of things that Holly could do while she was away. Together with the girl’s great sense of adventure and eagerness to travel, this was a great challenge. She set off with her father and was unimpressed by the long flight, but amazed when she walked out into the street. The heat, the smells and the sights were all so different.
The reason her father was in Malaysia was to write a travel guide for the Hotel they were staying at. At first, they found the luxury overwhelming, and loved the food and towels and the showers. Jim, as Holly’s Dad was called, had to go on a trip the next day, so Holly went to the adventure club. The following day, Father and daughter went for a sight-seeing walk around the area and soon were out of the tourist spots. Here Holly met a girl about her age, who was studying English. They chatted together and the girl pointed out an island in the bay which was to be cleared for a new hotel to be built. Sadly, all the animals would be taken away.
The hotel chain was advertising that there were almost no animals on the island, but Siti, the local girl, assured Holly that was wrong. Jim was begged by his daughter to help bring this situation to public attention, and though he was reluctant to drag his daughter on a fact finding tour, which involved being tagged by security guards, they investigated.
The beauty of this story is that one young girl can make a difference. Being aware and active, Holly and her father were able to cause a disruption. The use of blogs and digital equipment means that ideas can be quickly spread. The humour is delightful and tempers the scary bits.
The text has double spacing, and the font is a good size. The small sketches in black and white enhance the reading, and also add to the humour. A good read.
|Author||Dave Lowe, illustrated by The Boy Fitz Hammond|
|Distributor||Allen and Unwin|