Review Blog

Aug 30 2011

Barnesy by Allayne Webster

cover image

Ill. by Tom Jellett. Mates series. Scholastic, 2011. ISBN 978 1 66291 821 4.
Younger readers. Recommended. Another in the series of short stories produced by Omnibus, featuring authors who have written in the main for younger audiences, this book, Barnesy, is about a family having some problems with their lawnmower. Into the family comes a sheep, which having given birth has broken its back leg. The family invents a way for the sheep to recover and mow the lawn, solving everyone's problems. It is a neat story with a lovely resolution that will appeal to young readers. The two sheep, the ewe and its lamb find a new home where the ewe is able to carry on despite its loss of a leg, and they both take care of the lawn. The illustrations by Tom Jellett adds another layer of fun to the story, focussing the reader's attention on the activities of the family.
This book, like the others in the series, has different fonts for some words, attracting the reader's attention to those words. Some are unusual words which may need the use of a dictionary, some are words which require a stress, some are words which tell of the family's feelings at the time. Many names are used in this story which again may require the student to research the name to find out why it is used. I really like the stress on the words being used in this series of books. It is not didactic, but allows for some further thought about why the word is used, and allows the reader space to work it out or ask questions. And of course, the series is unselfconsciously Australian, with a smattering of Australian words, Hills Hoist, ute, lemon myrtle biscuits and vegemite, for example. A series of little gems.
Fran Knight

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