About Me

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Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Hunter by Joy Cowley

Hunter is a children's story set in New Zealand with a split plot. In the present are three children, survivor's of a light plane crash in the fiordlands of the south island of New Zealand. In the past is a Maori youth named Hunter, a runaway slave who early in the book comes face to face with a moa. Hunter is so in tune with his surroundings that he has the second sight: the ability to hunt and track any quarry. He also has visions of a white waka flying through the sky and crashing near a cave. If he shuts his eyes he can see survivors, three children who are cold, hungry and injured. He knows he can help them to survive in the wilderness, but his visions drift and fade. He is so drawn to the eldest child that he calls to her, hoping to connect somehow in their very seperate worlds and times.
   I really enjoyed this book as it was easy to feel for the characters. Cowley sets the scene of a cold, desolate wilderness. The three children squabble and sink into despair as the rain and mist and sandflies defeat them. They know they have to work together to stay alive but their relationships strain under the pressure.

Hunter (Puffin, 2005)

   Joy Cowley is a prolific and brilliant children's author. Many parents wouldn't realise that she's written dozens of educational readers that our young kids bring home to read each night. I adored her earlier work The Silent One which I will review here at a later date, but I guess it's enough to say that this lady is a quality writer. In some ways Hunter reminded me of Gary Paulsen's timeless novel Hatchet, but Hunter has a mystical quality that brings alive glimpses of Maori history and culture.
   Hunter is probably too easy for PSSC students but it is a great story for older primary and junior secondary school kids. It won the NZ Post Book Awards, Children and Young Adults book of the Year.

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