Review Blog

Mar 31 2014

The Cuckoo by Gary Crew

cover image

Ill. by Naomi Turvey. Ford St Publishing, 2014. ISBN: 9781925000177.
Recommended. Picture book for older children. About twenty-five years ago, Gary Crew was my oldest daughter's drama teacher. My middle daughter was great mates with Gary's son, as they were mischief makers in the same primary class. When Gary's first novel was published within 18 months of that time, I naturally was interested and intrigued to read it. I have been an avid reader of Gary's work ever since and have enjoyed many of his presentations at conferences or local news interviews over the years.
There is no doubt at all that Gary's novels are powerful and compelling but in my opinion it is his own passion for illustrated books that give even more impact to his 'picture books'.
The Cuckoo is somewhat dark - even bleak- but explores themes all too common and pertinent. Bullying, neglected and abused children, forgiveness, independence and self-belief are among analogies that can be drawn from this text. It has an almost mythical quality to it and is well enhanced by Turvey's exquisite illustrations which are both detailed and haunting.
Martin is the singular central character. Without a mother, tormented by a overbearing father and two brothers, Martin looks to the forest for solace and the small creatures he befriends become part of his salvation and strength. The ideas of both sacrifice and forgiveness are predominant in Martin's eventual triumph.
An intriguing and multi-layered book, this is recommended for older children for whom it could be a provocation for many philosophical conversations.
Sue Warren

BUY IT NOW ON booktopia
Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
CBCA shortlists 2017
2017 ABIA longlist
The Stella Prize shortlist for 2017
YA Book Prize 2017 shortlist
Reading Children's book prize shortlist
Indie Book Awards 2017
CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 shortlist
CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 shortlist
School Library Association Information Book Award 2017
2017 UKLA Book Awards shortlists
International Children's Book Day 2nd April, 2017
National Simultaneous Storytime 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Science fiction and fantasy lists SAETA conference 2015
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Books for boys
Bookmark and poster templates