Archive | March 1, 2022

What Is An Election?

What Is An Election?

What Is An Election?











What Is An Election?

Caryn Jenner

DK, 2020

48pp., hbk., RRP $A12.99


So far this year, in my little part of the planet, we have had both local government elections and a state by-election, and a federal election looms within the next three months,  So local young readers have been bombarded with advertising and so forth with vocabulary like ‘party’, ‘candidate’, ‘vote’ and ‘polling booth’. But do they understand what an ‘election‘ is?

This book, part of the DK FindOut series, provides a simple but comprehensive explanation of where and how democracy began and how it has developed over the years and just what happens when people are required to exercise their vote every so often.  Beginning with a close-to-home scenario of school elections for class president, it moves beyond to national elections and while the photographs are predominantly from the US, it does embrace the procedures in other parts of the world.

Because this is a levelled reader, ostensibly for ‘beginning readers”, the explanations are clear yet comprehensive giving the young person who at least has an awareness of the process being undertaken an insight into what actually happens. Therefore, IMO, the target audience would be those who might be involved in class elections who know that it is more than a popularity contest. Rather than an individual read, its importance lies as an introduction to that which will dominate our news bulletins in coming months shared and discussed by the class teacher, so students begin to understand what is meant by “Let’s have a vote” and the concepts of ‘majority rules’ and living with the consequences of the choices, 

As we mature we begin to realise what a precious thing a vote is, and the need to exercise our rights in an informed manner. This book begins our students’ understanding of that privilege.   

The Rat-Catcher’s Apprentice

The Rat-Catcher's Apprentice

The Rat-Catcher’s Apprentice












The Rat-Catcher’s Apprentice

Maggie Jankuloska

MidnightSun, 2022

192pp., pbk., RRP $A17.99


It is 1665 Rats have infested homes and alleys in Marie Perrin’s  provincial French town. Twelve-year-old Marie is set to become a maid, although she hungers for adventure. However, one mistake alters her fate and as punishment she is forced to apprentice for an intimidating rat-catcher. Away from her parents and twin brother, and handling gnarly rat traps under Gustave Renard’s unusual mentorship, Marie must overcome a new set of challenges which come after a plague enters her town.

This is an absorbing story for mature independent readers, made even moreso because of its parallels with today’s life where it is COVID-19 that has run rampant.  Despite the time difference, the  preventative measures of masks, social distancing, hand-washing and isolation that Gustav insists his wife and Marie follow are the same as those employed today!  But Marie also has to contend with a society built heavily on the distinctions and privileges (or lack of them) imposed by class and one’s station in life, as well as being female-although the latter doesn’t deter her as she dreams of a life of freedom unfettered by her gender.

While some readers may feel confronted by Marie’s predicament, the author has created credible, well-rounded characters whose lives reflect the times in which they are set, but are even more intriguing because they can relate to the conditions of a pandemic – tough enough for some even with modern science, communications and vaccines. Despite the depths of her despair at times, Marie is spurred on by Gustav and Marion’s belief that the bad times will pass and there will be joy again, and that, in itself, is a reason to share this story with your older students.

A debut novel by an author to look for in the future.