by Eileen Marie Rafferty Book : Fiction : Juvenile audience
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connecting to Gum Tree Gang   (2009-04-22)
In this little book we are introduced to four ordinary children, two girls, Krystal and Tracey and their brothers, Matthew and Kevin. Krystal is the dominant figure here, with an abundance of curiosity that gets her into all sorts of trouble. She is a born leader and goes where children dare not go. Not only that, but she leads her friends into all sorts of interesting situations. The children love adventure and cannot avoid trying to investigate what their other friends are up to. Unfortunately for them they get caught in places they should have avoided. This book is a mini thriller for children, with its boundaries almost life like. They seem to be able to get out of tricky situations through interesting methods, including codes and deductions. This book is almost like a young Agatha Christi novel, with no murders or anything too vicious for children. The story is told mainly through the childrens' dialogue and it is very compelling.
These children, who call themselves The Gum Tree Gang will provide good entertainment and stir the imagination of children who can read and are probably in the age range 8 or 9 years to about 14.
Children will be able to relate to these four characters, Krystal with her heedless courage, Tracey with her fearful following and a buried desire of inquisitiveness, who is also growing in mastering fear. Matthew, who thinks he can do anything a 'girl can do'. Matthew is also fairly strong minded about his sports and bike riding, but gets bored easily. In this story he shows a bit of strong characteristic of bravery coupled with being a bit of a fumbler, dropping things that should not be dropped etc. Kevin is more cautious and enters into this adventure with calculation. He finds his courage only when he thinks there is no other way to get back to 'normal'.
I think this book relates well to middle primary school children who need good reading material and get bored easily. This book will challenge them to enjoy life a bit more and to make every day an adventure.
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