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FIDDLEBACK by Elizabeth Honey


by Elizabeth Honey

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: June 12th, 2001
ISBN: 0-375-80579-6
Publisher: Knopf

Australian Honey takes the cast of 45 & 47 Stella Street and Everything That Happened (1998) into the bush for a blissful, if far from uneventful, camping trip in this madcap sequel. All together five children, seven adults, and one long, low dog named Briquette, the Stella Street neighbors think they’ve found heaven in an isolated spot along the Warrangalla River. And they have, even though idyllic days of exploring, gathering small treasures, skinny dipping, and just laying about are interrupted by the arrival of a neglected, at-risk teenager, a pair of big snakes, an unscrupulous sawmill boss out to poach an ancient blackwood tree, and, after a violent storm that renders the only road out impassable, a newborn baby. Adding occasional sketches or brief handwritten letters to God that underscore the tale’s high spots, seventh-grader Henni relates these and other events with breezy matter-of-factness—“Be prepared for a poetic bit . . . it can’t be told in any other way if I’m to do the telling. And it’s surprising, so when it happens suddenly to you, that’s how it was for us. It’s also rather gory”—that irresistibly invites readers along for the ride. Look for plenty of Recreation, but not much Rest, in this outing. (Fiction. 10-12)