Tag Archives: rescue

The Bad Guys: Episode 1 by Aaron Blabey

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The Bad Guys: Episode 1 by Aaron Blabey, paperback chapter book, 144 pages, published by Scholastic Australia in 2015.

Mr Wolf is known for trying to eat old ladies and their relatives, but does that make him a “Bad Guy”? To change his image, Mr Wolf starts a good guys club with Mr Shark, Mr Piranha and Mr Snake, with the aim to help people, and to become heroes. Mr Wolf has plans to make this band of stereotypical baddies be seen in a better light, through rescuing cats in trees and freeing dogs from the pound. But, will his plan work?

The Bad Guys is an easy to read chapter book, fantastic for those just moving up from first readers. The book had a comic book feel to it, with the story told through the extensive black and white illustrations and character dialogue.

I read the first episode to my kindergartener, who absolutely loved it (and I did too!). I think my son could have read it himself, but at 144 pages, he was a little intimidated by the physical size of the book. However, with all of the illustrations, and only a small amount of text on any one page, it was quite a quick read.

All of the characters have some quirky traits, but I particularly liked Mr Wolf’s upbeat nature and his unwillingness to accept defeat. My son liked Mr Shark’s ability (and desire) to eat anything and everything, even his own hat! The group dynamic and the interaction between the individual characters was excellent. It was easy to believe that this group could turn their bad ways over for good with Mr Wolf’s leadership and some great teamwork.

Be prepared for a good laugh whilst reading The Bad Guys; just about everything in this story was funny. The reactions to being rescued by a wolf, a shark, a snake and a piranha are great, and of course, my son thought Mr Piranha’s gassy little problem in the car was hilarious! How sceptical of Mr Wolf’s plans the others are, and how completely committed to his mission Mr Wolf is, even how they dress, it is all funny. Overall, we just really enjoyed this turned backwards tale.

The Bad Guys series is now up to, as I write this, I believe, episode 9, so there is a lot more laughter and joy to be had from these four formerly dangerous pals. We are looking forward to their next mission.

The Bad Guys: Episode 1 is suitable for lower and middle primary school children.

Phoebe Nash: Girl Warrior by Justin D’Ath

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IMG_4722Phoebe Nash: Girl Warrior by Justin D’Ath, paperback novel, 117 pages, published by Laguna Bay Publishing in 2010.

Cycling along an African road on holiday with her Dad should have been fun, but for Phoebe Nash it is just the start of an adventure both frightening and exhilarating. Phoebe flags down a passing vehicle when her dad becomes ill on their ride, but minutes later, they are all face-down in the dust with guns pointed at them. The African man that was trying to help Phoebe passes her a message and his mobile phone before he is hauled away by the men with guns. Now she must get help for her father, and try to pass on the message to the right person, Sospeter. He turns out to be a rather cute fifteen year old with a fast motorbike and a determination to rescue his father from the kidnappers, with Phoebe along for the ride.

A political kidnapping, an illicit motorbike ride, wild and dangerous animals, a daring rescue, and a cute boy. The perfect combination for an exciting and fast-paced African adventure! I enjoyed the story, which was interesting and exciting, without being too complicated. There was excellent description of the wild-life and scenery, allowing me to follow along with Phoebe and Sospeter on their rescue mission. I’ve always loved stories set in Africa, though most of the ones I read are full of complex politics or animal conservation issues, with death a common occurrence. Phoebe Nash: Girl Warrior was a clean story great for children, without death or swearing, and the reasons behind the kidnapping were kept simple.

I liked both Phoebe and Sospeter, both have courage and ingenuity, despite their young age. Phoebe has spunk; most thirteen year old girls wouldn’t have embarked upon such an incredible adventure with a boy they’d just met, in a country they don’t know! She is a good character to have at the heart of the story, and Sospeter complements her. He seems fearless and a bit stubborn, but knows when to ask for help. They make a great team.

Phoebe Nash: Girl Warrior was an entertaining read which I finished in one sitting. It is most suitable for middle primary to lower high school children. With a young female heroine, this story may appeal to girls more than other adventure stories, as they can relate to Phoebe. There is also a second book in this series that I am yet to read, Phoebe Nash: Detective.