Sunday, November 8, 2009

Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman

This is a very curious book. I am not sure if it really is aimed at Primary level and yet there is no reason why a Year 5 or Year 6 student should not read it. The whole book is written as a diary in a handwriting font and all in capital letters and at first I found this slightly annoying but once I was caught up in the story I hardly noticed.

Our hero Ryan lives in Skeleton Creek a place where something truly sinister has happened at the old disused gold dredge. The really intriguing part of this book is you can see it all for yourself. Ryan is stuck at home with a broken leg after his terrifying accident but he manages to stay in touch with Sarah via email. Ryan’s gift is writing – he needs to write things down to make sense of them while Sarah needs visual clues and so she records everything on her video camera.

As you read this book you are directed to go to and using the passwords that are supplied you can join Ryan and Sarah as they try to solve this intriguing mystery which involves murder, ghosts and high level corruption. So this book becomes a real partnership between the characters, the reader and the internet. The publisher has a role too because you can't see the videos without the passwords and you need THE BOOK! to see these!!

"The dredge is a crucial part of the town's dreary past. It sits alone and unvisited in the deepest part of the dark woods. The dredge, we discovered, was a terrible machine. Its purpose was to find gold and its method was grotesque. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the dredge sat in a muddy lake of its own making. It dug deep into the earth and hauled gargantuan buckets of stone and debris into itself. Nothing escaped it relentless appetite. Everything went inside the dredge.... and then it was all spit out behind in piles of rubble ten feet high." page 20

Of course I do need to add that this is just book one in a series and it does end on a real cliff hanger but I am very keen to read book two. Recommended for Senior primary readers.

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