28 July 2009

Polar Boy

by Sandy Fussell

Walker Books. Australian, Junior. Paperback, RRP $14.95

Guest Reviewer Jo Burnell

Can you imagine a world without mobile phones, TV’s and microwaves? How about one without cars, bikes or even skateboards? Now, take away electricity and air conditioning and come to the Arctic Circle.

Welcome to Iluak’s world in the thirteenth century. Iluak is just like most boys his age, with a best friend and an annoying little sister. He doesn’t want to hear about responsibilities. Can’t we just keep having fun? Apart from the absence of modern gadgets, things are very different. Darkness is a comfort. The White holds life-threatening dangers and Iluak has been chosen to face them in order to save his people. Whether he likes it or not, Iluak isn’t alone in his attempt to overcome the unthinkable, several times over.

Nana’s ability to see into the future and talk with the spirits of the dead causes more troubles for her grandson. Tuaq’s sneering condescension and Finn’s silent faithfulness pulsate from the pages. An unpredictable kid sister just makes things more complicated. Girls!

Sandy Fussell has a knack of embedding wisdom within and between characters. She does it again in Polar Boy. No wonder this is short-listed for the CBCA Book of the Year. Bravery, loyalty and justice, come face to face with raw strength and aggression, but will Iluak’s people survive? Melting ice and dwindling food supplies are the least of their worries.

Polar Boy is a fast-paced action adventure. It digs deeper to uncover timeless truths and dilemmas that face people of all ages. Extra twists keep the action rolling from beginning to end.

A must-read.


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