Review Blog

Oct 14 2010

Hazard river series by J.E. Fison

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Ford Street, 2010.
Shark frenzy. ISBN 9781921665110.
Snake surprise. ISBN 9781921665127.
(Age 7-10) Recommended. Jack Wilde and his friends are on holidays at Hazard River and they have lots of exciting adventures. In Shark frenzy, they discover a shark washed up on the shore of the river. Its fins are missing and their search for what has happened to the shark leads them into dangerous waters. In Snake Surprise, the gang discovers a message asking for help in an abandoned houseboat that is inhabited by a snake. Trying to discover what has happened to the houseboat's owner leads them on a dangerous quest.
Both these chapter books are exciting reads that I couldn't put down. The setting at Hazard River will seem to be familiar for many children who go camping or stay in holiday flats during the long summer break. Told in the first person by Jack Wilde, the stories are full of humour, imagination and adventure. Add some sibling rivalry between Jack and his brother Ben, teasing from his neighbour Lachlan, and information from Mimi Fairweather, otherwise known as Professor Bigbrains, and the series is a winner. Fison's message about the environment and endangered species is handled with a gentle but deft hand and is sure to appeal to children.
I can see reluctant as well as more advanced readers lapping up this funny series. Although the story is told from a boy's point of view, Mimi is a strong enough personality to appeal to girls as well. All in all, this series is a welcome addition to chapter books for young readers. There is a website with a book trailer.
Pat Pledger

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