Is your son sick of Zac Power but not into fantasy (yet?).
Are you looking for some simple, Australian voices for your kids that show them a range of situations that they might come across in the playground or at home? Examples include: moving schools (Sean), fighting with mates, worrying about letting your parents down (Michael) and not fitting in the playground?
Stuff Happens is a new series from Penguin for that tricky 7-11 boy age group. Could equally be called Sh*t Happens, but that wouldn't be very PC now, would it? You get my drift.
These books are about everyday stuff that happens to boys, sometimes beyond their control. Importantly the dialogue in the books spotlights how the fellas manage their emotions and respond to these hiccups.
My eldest son is 10, and he thought they were a little short (he read them in under an hour) but he loved the topics. Instead of me raving about the books, I asked him to tell you directly why he liked them:
Mr 10 writes:
I love a book that talks in a kids voice it makes us feel important and special. The thing I like the most about these books are that they tell different perspectives of everyday things in life. This book is about ordinary people at home at school or with mates and some times things happen that are unexpected. I liked how the voices were children and not adults.
I've always wanted to get to the nationals of swimming and Michael did just that but just before the nationals he starts to get bored of it. Ned has just moved away from home he is making new friends and trying to decide where he fits in at this strange place.
Overall I think these books are great. The only problem is they are bit short.
On the Penguin website, the creator and publisher of the series, Susannah McFarlane, says:
“One of the reasons I created Zac Power was because, at the time, my son was your typical reluctant reader. I wanted to create a simple, but exciting story that hooked him from the start and held his attention to the end – and would build his literacy. It’s my muesli dressed as Coco Pops strategy.’
Set in the fictional school of Monvale Primary, Stuff Happens features characters that display a range of emotional depth often excluded in junior fiction for boys. Each book focuses on a main character (Jack, Ned, Michael, Sean) with a particular struggle to overcome.
Susannah McFarlane also has a nice little site about kids and reading you can check out here.
I was sent a review copy of Michael and Sean from Penguin but all opinions (mine and Mr 10) are our own.