17 August 2009

Lightning Strikes Series

The Big Dig by Meg McKinley
Dog Squad by Meredith Costain

Walker Books. Australian, Junior. Paperback rrp $12.95

Guest Reviewer Jo Burnell

The Lightning Strikes Series has done it again with their latest two books. Dog Squad and The Big Dig are as funny as Freaky and Haunted were spooky. When confident boys talk in the first person, it’s like seeing inside their brains. Ideas roll on rapidly, while thoughts about consequences lag far behind, with sometimes hilarious results.

The Big Dig
The local pool closes indefinitely and Bayside Leisure Centre is the only alternative. However, with double the entry fee, wall to wall people and endless rules, there has to be a better alternative.

Resolving never to return, the fun begins at home. What would you do in a record-breaking heat wave when there’s no decent pool nearby? Dig your own, of course. This is not a little hole in the garden. Upper Primary school kids have imagination, boundless energy and guts.

Get ready to snort into the pages or laugh out loud before you can stop yourself. The Big Dig will be whipped off my bookshelf many times as summer heat nears each year.

Dog Squad
Accidents will happen, but some have a roll-on effect. A stray ball in backyard cricket leads to triple-headed disaster. The boys’ proposed solutions have more dangerous consequences than the original dilemmas, but it’s all part of the fun. Time is of the essence as the boys race to replace two guinea pigs and a hutch. One thing leads to another and before they know it, the stakes are higher. Much higher.

Meredith Costain and Meg McKinley nail the voices of Upper Primary school boys, from their love of action and adventure to their unshakable belief in their own extreme intelligence. As boys rely on their mates in times of crisis, other irresistible characters come along for the ride. The result (in both books) is fast-paced, fun-filled entertainment, but will the boys live to see another day?

You’ll have to read these mini masterpieces to find out.


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