A curious adventure from a curious dictionary

TITLE = WORD HUNTERS: Book 1 (The Curious Dictionary)

AUTHOR = NICK EARLS

ILLUSTRATIONS = TERRY WHIDBORNE

GENRE = ADVENTURE, TIMETRAVEL, FANTASY 

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7-9

This is a clever and unusual story: a timeslip adventure that all starts with words and their histories … and a very curious dictionary. The aptly named Al and Lexi Hunter discover that they are in fact word hunters: able to travel back in time to learn the heritage of certain words and certain names… just where will their adventures take them next? And can they always be certain to get home safely??

An entertaining story with delightful illustrations that add to the appeal. ou may also like to check out the Word Hunters website here.

Recommended (dma) ****

Why not check out the book trailer below:

Images either sourced from the Animoto website or photos taken by dma. Music “Born This Way” by Ian Cotterill (sourced from the Animoto website).

An unusual timeslip story

only ever alwaysTITLE = only ever always

AUTHOR = Penny RUSSON

GENRE = GRIEF, DEATH & DYING, FAMILY

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9, 10

Some readers may find the beginning of this novel to be rather confusing as it switches quickly between the two very different worlds of Clara and Claire. Claire’s world is one of safety, love and happiness. However, this world is shattered when she learns that her beloved Uncle Charlie has had an accident from which he may not recover. Clara’s world is already shattered: she appears to have no parents, she lives in a wreck of a house and she scrapes a living together by scrounging. However, Clara does have two friends: the streetwise Groom, who clearly adores her, and the enigmatic Andrew, whom she adores. When Andrew becomes ill, Clara sets out to save him and so becomes embroiled in an even seamier side of life.

The literal link between these two stories is a musical globe which enables the girls to move between worlds. Whilst Claire’s globe is whole, Clara’s is shattered. There are other links, too: the quaint old ladies who live next to Claire also feature in Clara’s world (in a more evil form), Andrew’s battle against death mirrors Charlie’s and the stray yellow dog seems to move in and out of both worlds.

There are many confusing elements in this story: Clara’s world is a trifle hard to understand at first and the frequent transition between the two worlds at climactic points in the story, can be rather jarring. Claire’s narrative is also told in an odd style which can seem either too stilted or too poetic for a thirteen year old. However, for those readers who stick with it, there is also a lot to enjoy in this novel, especially as the two stories draw closer together. And the ending is quietly satisfying.

Selected as a Notable book for the CBCA Book of the Year 2012 (Older Readers)

Recommended (dma) ***