Review Blog

Nov 29 2011

The goannas of No. 1 Martin Place by Vicky Steggall

cover image

Ill. by Danny Snell. ABC Books, 2010. ISBN 978 0 7333 2498 7.
(Ages 6+) Humour. Animals. When the goanna family which lives in the Botanic Gardens on Sydney's shoreline find that their relative peace has been marred by the addition of a park bench where people can stop and sit, father decides to find another place for his family to live. He goes off hunting and finds just the spot, the room on top of the clock tower at No. 1 Martin Place. It has all the attributes that they need. It is spacious, there are no cars on the space below, and the ceiling is open to the night sky where they can see the stars. Only one thing mars this perfect solution, the Pitt Street Cat.
So we have a neat little story about the family circumventing this problem with the help of a lone pigeon which unwittingly flies into their home. At first the pigeon is destined to be dinner, but when the youngest goanna and the pigeon talk they find a solution to the problem of getting food before the Pitt Street Cat gets there. With the help of the rats all the animals are able to see off the cat and live peaceably.
A story of resolution of problems and the putting their heads together for a resolution, this will be a favourite amongst younger children. Either read aloud or for more adventurous children to read alone, this will entreat readers to keep going. Aided by the illustrations, the story reflects much of inner Sydney and so not only useful as a story but also to introduce life in that city.
Fran Knight

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