Review Blog

Nov 16 2015

The Luna Laboratorium by N. J. Gemmell

cover image

Random House, 2015. ISBN 9780857985699
(Age: 8-12) Recommended. Themes: Family; Mystery; Adventure; War impacts. From the author who also wrote The Kensington Reptilarium and The Icicle Illuminarium (Nikki Gemmell) comes the whimsical and exciting conclusion to a Trilogy involving the Caddy children - four exceedingly independent children who have come from a life lived without boundaries in Central Australia in the era immediately after World War II. The Caddy children, nicknamed Kicki, Scruff, Bert and Pin, were relocated to live in the confines of the Kensington Reptilarium - the London home of their Uncle Basti, but all the time they have been searching for their missing parents whose mysterious war service has complicated their children's lives. In this latest adventure, they follow a clue that suggests that their mother is in fact still alive in Australia. Their delightfully persuasive personalities work to convince the adults in their life to accompany them to solve the mystery of the 'missing mother' which takes them to Luna Park in Sydney, then a harbourside convent and then back into the outback. Along the way they clamber, climb and explore risky places and place themselves in danger to discover more clues.
The beauty of the descriptive writing is part of the appeal of this book. Nikki Gemmell manages to evocatively conjure the Sydney environment for the reader as she brings to life the sights and sounds of the 1946 atmosphere and setting, including the eponymous Luna Park. The humourous antics of the children and their love for one another despite the difficulties they face will appeal to all readers. Gemmell also creates wonderful word portraits of the outback with its harsh realities, but also its beauty and its freedom. And through this all, there is an amazing sense of fun, despite the dramatic life and death circumstances that are encountered along the journey of this narrative. The young characters are so eccentric, but the people around them are also larger than life and distinctly odd. And underpinning the entire story we sense the deep love of family, and its power.
Very definitely worth recommending to young readers.
Carolyn Hull

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
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