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.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Lost Island of Tamarind by Nadia Aguiar

Three children adrift on the ocean, land on a tropical island and begin searching for their parents who were washed overboard during a fierce storm. So begins the ambitious adventure The Lost island of Tamarind by Nadia Aguiar. The main characters Maya and Simon have to care for their infant sister as they trek through the treacherous terrain. On their journey they encounter carnivorous vegetation, blood-thirsty pirates, and an evil child-stealing woman who rides a jaguar. All this would be action enough but the island of Tamarind is in chaos as unscrupulous soldiers fight a bitter civil war.
The Lost Island of Tamarind
(Puffin, 2008)
   Aguiar writes lengthy passages of description which plunge the reader into a tropical zone, but tend to slow the pace in places. Her imagination is vivid. She tells of giants, mermaids, glowing mineral wealth and a village that lives in the tree-tops. I love the way she describes life on the Pamela Jane, the small boat the children call home. Also the wildlife she writes about sound wondrous: butterflies and monkeys, parrots and turtles.
   Although written for Young Adults I would recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy. It is a large tome though, so be prepared for a long read.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Maraea and the Albatrosses by Patricia Grace

Maraea and the Albatrosses (Puffin, 2008)
Maraea grew up in a Maori village on a clifftop overlooking the sea. Each year her family welcomed the nesting albatrosses and cared for the chicks when the parent birds were out gathering food. Year after year the village grew smaller as the older people died and the younger ones left to live elsewhere. Soon only  Maraea remained to welcome the albatrosses.
   This children's picture book shows how a local community can bond with an ecological phenomenon and make it central to their lives. The sadder theme though, deals with the notion of the seduction of the big cities and how rural communities can wither and die, along with their specialised local knowledge.
   The drawings appear to be done in water-colour and pastel, but I'm no expert in artistic technique. The birds are depicted accurately and the artist Brian Gunson captures the melancholy of the story.
   A beautiful picture story book pitched at young readers, but one that all ages can admire.