Good Reading : September 2018
Catching Teller Crow Ambelin Kwaymullina & Ezekiel Kwaymullina Beth Teller is dead but she hasn’t moved on; her father still needs her. He’s the only one who can see and hear her but that doesn’t mean he always listens. Grief consumes him. He’s still working – he’s a detective – but Beth knows his boss makes a lot of allowances for him. When he’s sent to a remote town to oversee the investigation of a body found dead in a fire in the local orphanage, Beth goes too. Perhaps this job will force her dad to find himself again? Once there, Beth and Mr Teller realise this isn’t a simple accident: it’s murder. Slowly they uncover the deadly secrets of the small town, helped by another young girl: Isobel Catching. However, is she a witness or a victim, or something else? This is the first young adult novel by the Kwaymullina brother and sister team, but it won’t be the last; it’s brilliant. The text reflects the dual authorship. There are two narrators, with two distinct voices and two styles: one prose and the other blank verse. The story shows both the connection and the divide between white and Indigenous people of Australia. There is distrust and conflict, but there are also shared stor ies and loving relationships. Then there is the contrast between the physical and the spiritual; the dead and the living. Catching, Teller, Crow is a tour de force. ★★★★ Allen & Unwin $19.99 Reviewed by Wendy Noble Age Guide 14+ GOOD READING SEPTEMBER 2018 57 The Mapmakers’ Race Eirlys Hunter Illustrated by Kirsten Slade The Santander family are in deep trouble: Mr Santander is missing, lost during one of his map-making expeditions; they’ve run out of money and have nowhere to live, and now Mrs Santander is somewhere behind them, having got off the train by mistake. Sal, Joe, Francie, little Humphrey and their parrot, Carrot, will have to go on the map-making race by themselves. Surely their mother will be able to catch them up? They have 28 days to find and map a route through the mountains from Grand Prospect all the way to New Coalhaven. If they get there first, and have the best maps, they’ll win enough money to solve their financial problems and, perhaps, enough to go search for Mr Santander. They only have to face a few problems along the way, including: wild animals; falling off cliffs; crossing wild rivers; a cave full of bats, and the dirty tricks played by the adult teams. Thank goodness, Beckett decides to join the team. He knows important things, like how to care for donkeys and how to cook. These children are motivated, they have skills and know a lot about maps. It’s just as well. They’ve set off on an adventure that would daunt many adults. They’re brave, but they’re also still children. They learn some things, like food rationing, the hard way. However, they pull together as a team, they refuse to leave anyone behind and they don’t have the attitude of ‘win at any cost’. It’s the sort of adventure that would transpose well onto the big screen. ★★★★ Gecko Press $19.99 Reviewed by Wendy Noble Age Guide 10+ YOUNG ADULT WOM word of mouth during one of his map-making expeditions; how to care for donkeys and how to cook. Catching Teller Crow Ambelin Kwaymullina & Ezekiel Kwaymullina Bstill needs her. He’s the only one who can see and hear her but that doesn’t mean AUSTRALIAN AUTHOR About the authors Ambelin and Ezekiel Kwaymullina are a brother-sister team of Aboriginal writers who come from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia.