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Radio Rescue - Book Review

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by Suze C (subscribe)
"I'm a writer living in the Perth Hills with my relentlessly fun seeking children.
Published February 7th 2017
New Australian Books for Kids
Radio Rescue
Radio Rescue (pic Janejolly.com)


Set to be an Aussie Classic
I love finding books that define the spirit of Australia gone by. The vast expansive land, skies that could swallow you whole and those families who lived and worked in its furthest reaches. 'Radio Rescue' by June Jolly and Robert Ingpen is such a book. It is the story of a young lad, Jim, his family and his dog Bluey, who live on a remote sheep station in the outback of 1920's Australia. Their ordinary day to day lives and isolated existence are changed suddenly with the arrival of a parcel containing a pedal radio. The strange device opens a whole new world of communication which shapes their lives forever.

Outback Radio
This book perfectly captures the excitement that must have been felt when people first heard voices coming out of a wooden box, back in the early days of radio. We experience the fascination and wonder of setting up and operating the radio, the strange circuits and wires of the device and learning morse code through the eyes of a young boy. Although he is told he must be older to work the radio himself, fate intervenes and when his father is thrown from his horse, it is Jim who must try to work the radio to summon the doctor, who then arrives by airplane and saves the day.

Young Readers
The book is aimed at 5-9 year olds and the text is simple enough to be read alone by confident readers. Apart from its wonderful story the book also has some fascinating history and background information on outback radio and the Rev John Flynn, who was instrumental in creating the Flying Doctors service. Jane Jolly has a rare ability to bring history to life and just like her previous book, 'The tea and sugar train', she serves up history in a way that makes it fresh and interesting for children.

Picture Book Perfect
The artwork in this book is stunning. Award winning artist Robert Ingpen is one of my favourite illustrators. His work has a dreamlike quality and throughout this book there are flaps that fold out, from monochrome sketches, to sun blasted palettes that beautifully show every emotion on his subject's faces. Radio Rescue is a story book and a little piece of history you will want to keep going back to, time after time.
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