Review Blog

Dec 18 2012

Wreck the Halls by Meg McKinlay

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Lightning Strikes series. Walker Books, 2012. ISBN: 9781921720697. 95 pp.
(Ages: 8-11) Nathan has prepared himself for a joyless Christmas with his Grinch-like parents who are completely indifferent to the merriment of the festive season. But when his Dad announces the family trip to the caravan park is cancelled due to a work emergency things start to look up for the school break. Visions of blissful backyard cricket, swimming and bike-riding start to roll around in Nathan's head. That is until his two best mates Ronnie and Weasel sheepishly inform him they have two-week long passes to the Wild World adventure park. With barely enough money for slushies and his money-scrimping parents certain to deny him, the race is on to come up with the $150 entry fee so Nathan can salvage his dire looking Christmas holiday. Everything goes wrong but somehow that makes everything right.
This is a typically Australian Christmas story centering around a community of chummy but competitive neighbours with smatterings of pop culture references. YouTube savvy pensioners, Google Earth satellite calculations and a carbon footprint obsessed mother sit side by side with street Christmas parties and bike rides to the local Wacky Warehouse. Traditional Aussie Christmas is happily combined with new communications and technologies. The story is simple and believable and the main characters show humour and personality without being overly complicated. Overall a very easy and pleasurable read that is relevant to the children of today and their presence in the online world. This is a great read-aloud or independent reading book with a Christmas theme, especially for middle primary boys.
Nicole Smith-Forrest

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