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.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Magic Seashell by Makerita Urale

Masina is woman castaway on a lonely island. She finds a beautiful shell and wears it as a necklace. She spends many years alone on the island, fending for herself and building a beautiful home and garden. One day a huge cyclone comes and destroys everything on the island. In her flight to get to safety in a cave, she loses her shell necklace. Bereft, Masina sits and cries.

The Magic Seashell
(Steele Roberts, 1999)
Unbeknown to her, the shell necklace washes up on another island and sets in place a rescue mission.
   The Magic Seashell is a picture story book, aimed at children. It is unusual because the main characters are adults, not children, yet the story has a strong mythical quality to it which makes it endearing. Although the text is quite long, Makerita Urale has crafted a gentle story full of emotion and dialogue that will delight readers.
   The illustrator, Samuel Sakaria, has produced a variety of pictures, predominately in vibrant yellows and blues to accompany each page. Some illustrations have interesting borders depicting island motifs and woven patterns.
  This is a beautiful
book with a happy ending.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

My Father's Islands by Christobel Mattingley

Before I read Christobel Mattingley's book I knew zilch about the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman. In fact, I didn't even know he was Dutch. Now I have a great deal of respect for a man who spent years at sea for very little thanks from the Councillors and the Governor General who sent him on such dangerous expeditions.
My Father's Islands (NLA
 Publishing, 2012)
   My Father's Islands is written from the point of view of Tasman's young daughter, Claesgen, who spent most of her life in Batavia (now Jakarta) during the mid 1600s. This gives emotion and depth to a subject I have always found hard to get enthusiastic about - explorers. I think this is because my father raved on about Bourke and Wills and Charles Sturt and Oxley and Blaxland and numerous others for much of my childhood. It has given me a kind of allergic reaction to Australian explorer stories. With this in mind, I think I did well to finish this small book.
   However half way through the story Tasman's ships left Tasmania and journeyed to New Zealand, Tonga and later, the Solomon Islands and New Ireland. These were the parts I found fascinating, especially his encounters with the islanders.
   The text is pitched at children, though it is a good book for history buffs of all ages. It is filled with charts and illustrations taken on Tasman's journey along the S
outhern Ocean, past Tasmania, through to New Zealand and then on to the Pacific Isles.