Rain stones by Jackie French
Angus & Robertson, 2016. ISBN 9781460753170
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Rural Australia. Drought. This newly presented edition celebrates twenty five years since this book was first published. With a new cover and an edition in ebook format, times have changed, but not the charming set of stories reflecting life for young people in rural Australia.
The opening tale, Rain stones is a story which tells of life in rural Australia during a drought where mum must work in the town, Helen must get tea ready while dad works on the old pump getting what little water there is into the dam for the few sheep left on the property. French breathes life into this scenario as Helen strives to follow up the story about Aboriginal people bringing rain through special stones. She asks the local historian and finds that one of the boys in her class has Aboriginal heritage. She talks to his father but seemingly to no avail, until both groups meet to encourage rain. It remains a wining tale of coming together in drought ridden Australia, and reflects values now part of that time.
In 'Afternoon with Grandma', a visit by a family to their Grandma with Alzheimer Disease sees the two children told to go into the garden, where they meet a girl they think is their cousin and play with her learning all about her life and dreams. It is only talking with their mother that they learn that their Gran's dreams were the same.
In the third story, Ben meets Jacob at the swimming pool for lessons and realises that he is blind, while another story concerns the dinosaurs living in the hills around Canberra. All stories are quite delightful, revealing the early writing of Jackie French for a new generation of her avid readers.