22 January 2010

Uncle Eddie Adventures

Uncle Eddie and the Hippos
Uncle Eddie and the Croc

by Lucy Farmer, illustrated by Kevin Burgermeestre

black dog books. Australian, Young Reader. Paperback rrp $14.99

Guest Reviewer - Anastasia Gonis

Uncle Eddie is the caretaker of a national park. He lives by the shores of Lake Wakka Wakka in South Africa, in a tiny hut he’s built from poles, mud and grasses. Eddie reads by lantern light and gets his water from the lake. He frequently spends his evenings sitting outside in front of the fire, watching the flames and the shadows from the fire’s light as he listens to the whispering of nature. Although his life is completely self-sufficient there are times when he seeks advice from others.

The grass is growing too long around Eddie’s hut. He’s concerned that something might be hiding there when he goes to get water. He tries to cut the grass with a scythe but cuts his finger instead, and abandons the job.

Usually the hippos come and eat the grass but they are staying away for some reason. Eddie scatters sausage fruit around to entice them without results. He decides to visit the village chief for advice and good manners demand he take a gift. He carries with him a hard- boiled egg as an offering. He is enlightened by the chief as to why the hippos don’t come. They are afraid of his nightly camp fire and Eddie finds a smart way to solve his dilemma.

In Uncle Eddie and the Croc, Eddie discovers a three metre croc sunning itself by the edge of the lake. He can’t get rid of it no matter what he does. This happens day after day. Eddie’s expecting visitors therefore he decides to seek advice from a more knowledgeable person.

He goes to the local chief, observing the protocols of visiting an important person by taking the biggest pumpkin he owns as a gift. The wise chief offers up an ingenious solution to Uncle Eddie’s problem.

These stories teach younger readers about the natural world of South Africa; its animals, the environment, the habits of the villagers, customs that need to be observed, and the way the native people live. All the stories are depicted in vibrant detailed illustrations which complement the text perfectly.

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