Sunday, March 4, 2018

Pip and Houdini by JC Jones

A young girl, a small dog and one big adventure.

Pip and Houdini walked on and on, as thoughts and feelings tumbled around inside her. How silly she'd been to think that, of all the Cassandra's in Australia - in the world! - she'd just happened to stumble across the right one. But she had thought that, and now she was like a balloon that someone had stuck a sharp pin into.

The story of Pip and Houdini is filled with coincidences and I love this.  Pip meets exactly the right people on her journey and each one brings her closer to her goal of finding her mum Cassandra.

Pip gets into a fight at school. Her foster parents are disappointed and decide she cannot go on the school field trip to the museum. Out walking her dog Houdini, Pip sees a bus with the sign Museum. She has some coins and so she climbs aboard. She does manage to explore a little of the museum but of course she is caught and taken home.  Pip is now in serious trouble and she feels she cannot stay with Mr and Mrs Browning even though they are actually very kind to her.  All she has is a fragment of information about her past - a postcard from her mum sent from Byron Bay. Pip sets off in the middle of the night with her dog Houdini - heading for Byron Bay.

She spends her first night in a van and awakes to find herself on the road, there is a crash, Pip tries to save a man trapped in a burning car but she cannot stay to see the outcome.  She needs to keep moving. She meets a young girl who was set to break into the world of music having almost won a television competition. Frankie and Pip do some busking and Pip makes enough money to continue her journey by train making sure she first pays back the fare from yesterday when she and Frankie caught the train without a ticket. Eventually she arrives in Byron Bay and finds the actual street where her mum once lived. A chance conversation with a neighbour leads her to a surfer with wild hair and a distinctive tattoo and then onto a surprise family and perhaps a different sort of happy ending - not quite the one she had imagined.

Pip and Houdini can stand alone but if you have time go back and read the first installment Run, Pip, Run! 

Pip and Houdini has been listed in our CBCA Notables for 2018 but it is up against some strong competition such as How to Bee, The elephant, The extremely inconvenient adventures of Bronte Mettlestone, The shop at Hoopers Bend, Accidental Heroes, and Nevermoor The trails of Morrigan Crow. Since the judges can only select six books for the short list I am not sure Pip and Houdini will make the cut but it certainly should make your own reading list.

Read some reviews
Kids Book Review  I bet you'll find the pages fly in this sometimes heart-warming, sometimes heart-rending sequel to Run Pip Run.

Aussie Reviews  ... she has a very well-developed moral compass and an almost-inexhaustible store of openness, optimism and energy. 

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