Tui Allen has loaded this review about my book on Goodreads. Tui is an author in her own right, and our local New Zealand Society of Authors delegate, so it means a lot to me that she liked it so much. Thanks Tui.
Rollicking but Meaningful Kiwi Novel for Kids
This is a rollicking good yarn on one level but so much more than that. It has something important to say to its audience, beyond the adventure itself.
I found it un-put-down-able and read until almost midnight to finish. I'm an adult, so not even part of the target audience.
The beginning was irresistibly captivating. The romance of a ship in a bottle especially one found as flotsam (or was it jetsam perhaps? Had some power SENT that bottle to Malachi?) I was encouraged to wonder about that by the author's intriguing decision to simply reverse the usual order of those two words. Jetsam and flotsam.
The story is about Malachi and his dad who are grieving the loss of Malachi's mother. Neither are functioning to their full capacity and neither were over it yet, but Malachi reaches out for adventure and new beginnings with the help and guidance of the action that takes place among the crew of the pirate ship playing out their own story inside the bottle.
It's a story with a message of conservation. Malachi's own voyage as a stowaway on a land-based "pirate ship" takes him into a world where the prisoners he rescues are precious NZ wildlife doomed otherwise to be stolen and sold.
The story ends with powerful glimmers of hope for the future for Malachi and his dad. I love a story that shows growth in the characters as this one does. With its strong links to the sea, and its theme of the wildlife of New Zealand this is a true Kiwi story. Where else in the world do kids get to wander along an empty ocean beach on their way to school in the morning?
The book is a beautiful product. Very child-proof. I tested it. The cover design is fresh and inspiring and there is an added bonus of charming greyscale chapter-head motif drawings.
All NZ school libraries should buy multiple copies at once and it should sell internationally to give the world a glimpse of NZ.