Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Trouble at home by Cate Whittle illustrated by Kim Gamble

I spied this little book, Trouble at home, in a charming little country bookshop while I was down south on holidays.  It caught my eye because I adore the work of our illustrator Kim Gamble.  He is most famous for the Tashi series by Anna Fienberg but he also illustrated Our School Fete and one of my most favourite picture books Pog.

As Georgia walks home with mum, and her Kindergarten aged brother Henry, she witnesses the theft of her house.  Yes her whole house is stolen by a dragon.  This dragon is a "giant green dragon with blue wings and red scaly bits around his ears."  The loss of their house is indeed a catastrophe but things are far worse.  Gran was home with Godfrey when the house is taken.  Luckily Gran was not inside the house at the exact moment the dragon grabbed the house. Unluckily Godfrey was inside the house.

How will they every find Godfrey?  Where will the family sleep?  All that is left in their back yard is their tool shed (dad sleeps in here), the garden shed (Georgia and Henry sleep with a smelly bag of Foggets Special Rose Food in here) and their outside dunny (luckily).  For reasons I won't go into right now the tent they once owned is no longer available.  Mum and Gran have to sleep in the car.  Naturally everyone is extremely upset - especially mum.

No one believes Georgia when she tries to explain to her parents, Gran and the police about the dragon so she sets off with her brother to solve this problem, find their house and rescue her baby brother.  The trouble comes when she sees the new location of her house.

Pick up a packet of potato chips and a bottle of fizzy sarsaparilla drink before you read this book - you will understand why when you begin this sweet tale of determination and true courage.  I especially like the way Georgia looks in her school library for information about dragons.

I knew this book would be a winner from the first three sentences :

"Ages and ages ago - about two weeks since next Thursday - a giant green dragon stole my baby brother, Godfrey. Well, okay, the giant green dragon actually stole the house.  Godfrey, who is only almost three, was inside watching TV."

Trouble at home is the first book in a planned series of four.  It is a perfect book for a newly confident reader. Scholastic have made a comprehensive set of teaching notes for this book.

One of the things that really works in this little book is the repetition of specific little phrases.  I think this will be reassuring for a new reader and also build confidence.

I would follow reading Trouble at home with Moving House from the Aussie Bites series.  You might also enjoy Yin's magic dragon and the classic dragon story The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch.

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