Seahorse by Bruce Pascoe
Magabala Books, 2015. ISBN 9781921248931
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Themes: Fishing, Family Life, Boating, Mysteries, Adventure. Jack's family, dad Vince, mum Carla and sister Tania love to spend time camping, fishing, diving and exploring Seahorse Bay. Carla is content to sit on the rocks, catching fish for their tea while Vince dives out on the ocean side of the reef looking for crayfish. Eight year old Tania is ready to practise her snorkelling skills, ably looked after by her big brother as they search for abalone on the rocks. They love their time spent together in this idyllic setting, however, things change when Jack discovers a deliberately sunken boat nearby. Who is the man dressed in black, watching them with binoculars, from a hiding spot at the top of the cliffs?
Father and son decide to salvage the boat after checking with the local police officer. Jack rescues a little seahorse caught in the cabin and that's how the boat is named. Mum notices the mysterious man and his old rusty Falcon hanging around. The family is even threatened and forced to take the bloke into town. With the help of the police, the mystery is resolved and Jack, his parents and sister Tania are free to take the repaired boat exploring the nearby islands and coves around Seahorse Bay.
Bruce Pascoe's narrative is rich in description, interwoven with historical facts about Aboriginal life in the region. There's the story of an escaped convict who settled down with an aboriginal wife to a resilient life on the coast, and many Tasmanian descendants can be traced back to them. He shares his love of fishing and outdoor activities in Jack's story. This junior novel is suited for readers with a higher interest age and lower reading age.