Sunday, February 5, 2017

Nathan and the Ice Rockets by Debra Oswald illustrated by Matthew Martin

As you can see this is a little chapter - Nathan and the Ice Rockets is a book from the Aussie Bites series.  There are so many treasures among these books and also among their little cousins Aussie Nibbles. Sadly this one is out of print.

"Everyone at our school was going wild about the Ice Rockets competition.  Ice Rockets are these ice-blocks shaped like spaceships."

The competition involves collecting the ice block sticks. To win a fabulous bike you need all the letters R, O, C, K, E, T,  and !. Of course it is easy to find some letters but there are one or two that never appear.

The real strength of this book (first published in 1998) is the authentic Australian flavour.  We are going through a very hot summer, everyone has just come back to school and eating a cool ice-block is an essential treat for this time of year.  Nathan is a new kid.  He is an outsider but two terrific kids - Lewis and Frank make friends with Nathan and they form a team to try to win this prized bike.

"You would have to see this bike to really know how brilliant it was... The bike frame was shaped as much like a space rocket... The handlebars, brakes, bell and speedo were all made to look like the control panel of a spaceship."

The final scenes are filled with tension as the kids in Years 5 and 6, except for the bully James Dunphy, unite to eat forty-nine Ice Rockets before the competition ends the next day.  All they need is the letter 'K'.  Nathan is a winner but not in the way you might expect.

Listen to an audio sample here.  I would pair this book with There's a lion in my Cornflakes.

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