Review Blog

Oct 14 2019

A different land by Paul Jennings

cover image

Illus. by Geoff Kelly. Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760528720. 128 pg.
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Themes: Resilience, Migration, Courage, Loneliness, Humour. Standing on the platform watching a steam train pull away but with no one there to meet them, Mum (Pat), her son Christopher and Anton, the boy from the boat are concerned that they have come all this way for nothing. Applying for any job she could meant getting out of the migrant camp and this one could not have been more isolated. 1500 miles and greeted by a grizzled man expecting to pick up another man to help in his hotel, dumbfounded that Pat is a woman and with two young boys in tow. But with no where else to go, they are bundled into his truck and in paths cut into the forest, drive to his hotel, a run down, dirt floored, building smelling of barbecue and with little in the way of the comforts they were hoping for.
In telling this story, Jennings is recalling the concerns of all migrants, as they come to a new land, full of hopes that may be dashed, fear lurking beneath the surface, but resilient enough to see their decision through. Pat is determined to make their move work, and bolsters up the two boys when confronted with things like the camp stretchers, snakes, wild boar and long drop toilets.
Jennings has included many things which will make his audience laugh out loud, but a loving family and a welcoming lot of isolated people ready to accept a new family in their midst gives the story an emotional edge. Readers will recognise courage and resilience in the dreams of the new migrants, reflecting the feelings Jennings and his family had when arriving in Australia as 'ten pound poms'.
A companion piece to the two 'different' stories, A different dog and A different boy, themes unite the stories and the last of the three will draw a wide, appreciative audience, loving the life and death adventure Christopher finds himself part of and equally delighted by the black and white illustrations accompanying the text setting the scene for the readers. Scroll down the page for teacher's tips from the publisher.
Fran Knight

BUY IT ON booktopia
Archived Blog Entries