Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Four Small Stones (Urban Hunters 1)

Four Small Stones (Urban Hunters 1)
By:  Gary Taaffe
ISBN:  9780987176004
Published August 3, 2011 by Bunya Publishing
Available Format: ebook

My Rating: ★★★★★

Billy is a thirteen-year-old Aboriginal boy from the bush.  The spirit of his mother has chosen him to travel where the whites live.  His clan is facing extinction, and it is up to young Billy to find some girls and a future for them.  Billy really doesn’t want to go, but he has more imminent problems to deal with.  Billy’s brothers are constantly pulling pranks on each other, and this time Billy is their target.  He cooks up a plan to get back at them big time.  His plan involves a rotten Roo, some stimulating biscuits, a blanket of bat poop, and a trip to the crystal cave. 

I originally thought, with a thirteen-year-old protagonist and low word count, this would be good to read with my son.  We did start it together, but I read ahead and decided it was a bit more mature than he is ready for at the moment.  We did have an interesting conversation about the Aborigines and Australian animals and culture.  It is more toward the end of the story that the plot takes a little turn and the language gets a bit harsh.  If he were in his early teens, I would have been more comfortable with him finishing the story.

For me, though, it was truly enjoyable!   The young brothers have such a fun rapport, even though they are trying to one up each other all the time.  They certainly can pull some disgusting pranks, and Billy’s was elaborate and hilarious! 

All throughout the story, I marveled at how authentic everything felt.  Heartwarming and fun!  I can’t wait to check out the next in the series…