by Michael Wagner
Penguin Group Australia. Junior, Australian. Paperback rrp $14.95
Wet and Wild is the fourth book following the adventures of the Undys – dad Phil and narrator Josh – with more books to follow. It is excellent reading for newly independent readers with short easy to follow chapters. At the end of each chapter is a reward challenge – a fun quiz about the story so far!
One of the wonderful things about the Undys is the way the young reader is introduced to the complexities of different sorts of families. Phil Undy is a single dad and Amy is his girlfriend. Josh’s mum died some time ago. Aunty Faber is a constant companion on many family outings. In Wet and Wild we meet Daniel, also a single dad, recently emigrated from Sudan. His daughter Summer is Josh’s good friend. Like a sister. And Aunty Faber likes Daniel a lot so perhaps one day Josh and Summer will be cousins!
The Undys along with Amy, Aunty Faber, Daniel and Summer, go camping. It’s also the first time Amy has come along for a family holiday. They play four games and each of these games is a chapter and a discreet story in itself – paddleboat races, treasure hunt, greasy pole battle and beach volleyball. The stories are sure to appeal equally to boys and girls. Especially when it is adults against the kids.
Australian illustrator Gus Gordon has further added to the zany adventures of the Undys with often a humorous black and white drawing. If you want to look at wonderful drawings go straight to the chapter on the volleyball game to catch the team in confusion, Daniel’s arm waving, ball-spiking antics and the team celebrating.
I know one young reader who had heaps of fun colouring them in. The Undys is his favourite book of the moment. He loves the story and the artwork. Perfect for kids 6 – 10 and if they can’t read it themselves, then this is a great one for a parent to read aloud.