Bear in the Woods by R. A. Spratt
The Peski Kids book 2. Penguin, 2019. ISBN: 9780143788836.
(Age: 9-12) Recommended. Themes: Brothers and Sisters, Country Life, Bears, Festivals. Bear in the Woods begins with an update on the Peski kids' mother Dr Banfield, still held in an Eastern European jail after a determined fight to escape. Meanwhile, her family remains in the eccentric country town of Currawong, living with their horticulturist father who's constantly worried about their safety. He's afraid the evil Kolektiv team will discover their whereabouts, and all he wants is for the children to keep a low profile! A burning computer in Joe's bedroom begins this hilariously crazy fast-paced adventure. With the help of Ingrid, the neighbour's au pair and Dad's sprinkler system, the blaze is contained. Why would anyone want to destroy the computer - maybe there is some data hidden inside?
Drama and disaster seem to follow Joe, April and Fin who love to argue and bicker; however they pull together in a crisis. With $1000 to purchase a new computer the Peski kids set off for Currawong where the whole town is turning yellow, preparing for Daffodil Day. Just like a car without brakes travelling downhill, the Peskis soon find themselves in an out of control sequence of events. April's fierce little dog Pumpkin chases a cat up a pole, Constable Pike then steps in and each of the kids has fifty hours community service. Whilst out in the bush clearing rubbish and debris from the creek April is swept away in a flash flood. After some desperate moments she struggles ashore, concussed and bruised, confronted by a large, black bear. Why doesn't anyone else believe April; even her brothers question her mental state? How does Fin's hours of community service at the crazy Cat Lady's house and animal barn provide unexpected answers?
R. A. Spratt takes the crazy cast of Currawong characters on a humorous and madcap journey. April visits a mad psychiatrist with her ancient aluminium caravan-office parked in the middle of Main Street; she's chased by Officer Oddinson of Animal Control on the loose with his tranquiliser gun and the kids have confrontations with the mayor and Constable Pike.
The author's humorous and witty style of writing, dash of romance, family dramas and her fast-paced plot make Bear in the Woods a fabulous class novel for students in the Upper Primary. What's next for feisty Peski Kids?