Saturday, 10 May 2014

Fiction - Age 11 up

NZ Writer
Philippa Werry
Harbour Bridge
My New Zealand story series
Scholastic 2014  $18.50pb    270 pp
ISBN 978 1 7754 3166 4
Themes: Auckland Harbour Bridge/ Auckland New Zealand 1958 – 1959/ New Zealand life and culture 1950s

It is Auckland, New Zealand 1958 and over on the North Shore in the Campbell family, life is full of talk about the fate of the animals now orbiting the earth as part of the Space Race, of Elvis Presley who has just been called up into the army, of the vehicular ferries that plough back and forward across the water and, of course, of the progress of the new Harbour Bridge that will be changing everyone’s life for ever. 1958/ 59 was a time of enormous change in New Zealand for everyone and with real skill Philippa Werry has managed to integrate the changes, attitudes and views of the time into a story that will be enjoyed for its own sake. Simon (and his best friend Marty – short-sighted and determined to be an astronaut) is an appealing hero and writes his diary with a real sense of humour. As an adult I was fascinated by the story for all the memories it brought back – the chimpanzees’ tea parties/ the movie Jailhouse Rock and the worries it brought to mothers of teenage girls/ watching for the 2 tonne satellite as it whirled overhead…

Year 7 up/ Age 11 up

Philippa is just back this week from Gallipoli where she travelled to attend the ANZAC services as a volunteer guide and, on the way home, as she says ‘the icing on the cake’, to visit Mandy Hager in Menton. Mandy is there as this year’s Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship holder.
Pippa in conversation with Maggie Rainey-Smith at the launch of Best Mates last month.  Image Barbara Murison

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