Review Blog

Aug 11 2009

Callie by Ruth Park

cover image

Angus and Robertson, 2009. ISBN 97807322892 .
(Ages: 8+) This reissue in one volume of Ruth Park's Callie's Castle and Callie's Family will win the hearts of many new readers as they are pulled into the story of Callie, at a crossroads in her short life, dealing with step sisters and brothers, missing her own father terribly.
Callie's father died when she was three, but it is only now, as her mother and stepfather and siblings, move to a new house, that her fears come to the surface. Irascible at school and at home, it takes her grandfather, an old Scots, to put his finger on the problem, and look for a solution.
The superb writing make this a sure fire winner as a read aloud, and the book will be picked up by middle to upper primary readers. The cover illustration will unfortunately be a put off, old fashioned as it appears, but the story, first published in 1974, has lost none of its appeal. Some readers will notice that the children do not rely on mobile phones and play outdoors, instead of in front of a computer, and Callie is at ease asking strangers for directions, but this points to a different time, albeit 30 years ago. The central issues of finding one's voice and having a space of your own will not be lost on today's readers.
Fran Knight

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