Penguin Random House. 2016
163pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99
It started as just another game of backyard cricket with her best friend Ben, but the pain in Alice’s tummy isn’t because she has been eating roo meat. No matter how she tries to ignore it, it soon becomes obvious that something is seriously wrong and when Grandad and Ben finally get her to the local medical centre the news is not good. Alice has acute appendicitis and needs immediate surgery. But in remote Mount Magnet, WA, that’s not easy. The nearest facility with the capability is in Perth and the nearest plane from the Royal Flying Doctor service is at least 40 minutes away in Meekatharra! And there is a massive storm brewing so there is much playing on Alice’s mind apart from the pain, including the fact that her dad went to hospital not so long ago and did not return.
Because her mum can’t leave two-year-old Lewis (and there isn’t room for two) Alice’s grandfather volunteers to travel with her. He’s a man that Alice is a bit wary of – even though he lives in the granny flat at the back of their house, Alice sees him as being old and “a bit useless’ particularly since he does little except watch television since the death of his son. But needs must and as he supports and comforts her throughout her ordeal, she starts to understand him a little better and build a new relationship with him. In the air the storm hits with a vengeance and both Grandad and Doctor Helen distract Alice from her fear and her pain by telling her stories of their own experiences with the RFDS – the echoes of the past that not only keep her mind occupied but also give the reader some insight into this service which began as the Australian Inland Mission Aerial Medical Service in 1928, the realisation of a dream of the Reverend John Flynn to provide the people of the outback with a “mantle of safety” and made possible by the inventions of the pedal radio by Alfred Traeger
Emergency Echo is part of a new series about the Royal Flying Doctor Service by George Ivanoff that is perfect for the newly independent reader wanting a good, solid adventure series. Well-researched and accompanied by information about the Service, the places, the illness (so readers are already informed of what to expect if it befalls them) it is a welcome addition to the quality literature being written for young readers. Authentic and engaging and different, they will appeal to both boys and girls who will be asking you to get Remote Rescue (already available) and Medical Mission and Fast Flight (coming in May).
There is more information about the books and their origins on George’s website