Review – Burning Eddy by Scot Gardner

As a child/teenager growing up in the hills of Adelaide with chickens, veggies, strangling, delicious blackberry plants and paddocks full of cows (with the occasional kangaroo hopping through) I dreamt of the concrete jungle depicted in books like Looking for Alibrandi. When I moved to Melbourne ten years ago, I felt like I was finally home.

Burning Eddy felt like a different kind of home to me as I was reading it, that home of my childhood. Scot Gardner has a way of describing things that are so familiar that I’m catapulted straight back to the moment I first mistook an angry koala for a wild boar, my countless run ins with hairy huntsmen and forgotten tin sheds surrounded by brushland and shrub.

I read this while researching an article I’m writing for VATE – recommending complementary texts to the Australian Curriculum. It’s an excellent text to tie in with the sustainability topic, as it encourages a deep understanding of Australian growth and development, of industry and mining vs the sustainability of our natural habitat, and the natural spread of plant and animal life as well as the symbiotic relationship between the two.

As always, Scot Gardner’s writing is exquisitely stripped back. There’s a raw honesty to his writing that is compelling as a reader. And underlying the quirky characters of Eddy, the sweetness of Dan’s younger brother Toby, the teen angst of his sister Kat, and the pureness of Dan himself, there is the shadow of hurt and cruelty in other characters, and always the unpredictability of the bush.

Burning Eddy isn’t as long as some of SG’s more recent books, but contains a far larger story than the size indicates. Every character has weight, and every name is memorable. Although this isn’t a new book, it’s one I highly recommend readers revisit.

Breaking up all this is the wonderful Dutch woman -Eddy. She’s the kind of unexpected character that those familiar with Scot’s work will love. A breath of colour and surprise, she cuts through the dust and

Review – One Small Island

Ok, it’s been a while.

On top of growing a tiny person, I’m trying desperately to meet my end of year deadline for the book, and have been swamped with work, speaking, sickness and a few large articles (this post stems from one).

I promise to be back soon, but a few things to tide us over in the meantime.

1. This new section ‘Books for Tiny People’ will be reviews of the books I read to or with my own Tiny Person in mind. He’s not far off now, so I’m turning more of an eye to picture books. If I like them I’ll put something up, and if you’re interested, feel free to read it.

2. This review (copied from my Goodreads account) comes from an article that I’m writing for VATE on texts to support the Australian curriculum. I read it, and couldn’t stop taking notes. It’s a quick review that I just dashed out, but it’s something. Til next time – enjoy!

Such a beautiful book I have to give it 5 stars.
One Small Island leaves me with contradictory feelings in many ways – I want to one day share it with my son because of the importance of preserving our earth, and then I hope never to have to – hope that things will somehow get better or become more sustainable.
This picture book is quick to point out our flaws as we traipse over the earth, taking our lifestyles, our cultures, our specific habitats into undisturbed areas, guaranteeing that they will never be quite the same. And yet there is something beautiful in the balance that is struck (eventually, or at times) between nature and the intruder.
It is a book that doesn’t leave me without questions, I wonder how I feel about extreme conservation methods (myxomatosis – which I watched several pet rabbits suffer horribly from before dying as a child; poison – with the attitude of the native creatures affected being only a small percentage compared to those harmed by doing nothing); I wonder about radical lifestyle changes, about becoming someone who does more than I do right now; I wonder about the future. But at the same time it’s a book that answers many questions, ones I didn’t even know I had, about the shape of our earth, the evolution of our history.

One Small Island is a book that mirrors its name – a small book, but one with great significance to readers.

You can get teachers notes for the book here.