REVIEWED BY JOSHUA, 13, NSW
All Four Quarters of the Moon by Shirley Marr, Penguin Australia, ISBN 9781760899554
Joshua received a review copy of this book.
Peijing is not from this country. Australia is such a different place to Singapore. Accompanied by Ba Ba (her Dad), Ma Ma (her Mum), her sister Biju and Ah Ma, her grandmother, Peijing is unsure of the strange new cultures and the adaptations she will have to make to fit into Australia. To Peijing’s realisation, her family are all fighting their own uncertainties in their new life. Little Biju is only in kindergarten and is struggling as her English isn’t as fluent as everyone else’s. Ma Ma doesn’t do much as she is alone without all her friends around and she can’t speak English. The only thing she finds she can do is to clean the house incessantly. Ba Ba doesn’t talk to anyone now, though he used to talk to the other men in the family. The family first moved to Australia so he could get a promotion. Ah Ma, who sits at the TV all day has nothing to do, like Ma Ma, and she also keeps forgetting things like who Peijing is, to chew food, and she dangerously wanders away from the house.
With all these problems in her family’s lives, Peijing feels that she cannot express her own issues to them so she steps up to care for the family especially Biju, who is still young and believes everything her sister says.
Helpless, the only thing Peijing knows she can control is the little world – a precious paper world where the two sisters create stories with their paper animal and plant creations. The world is filled with different creatures, real and fantasy but there are no people. To Peijing, the little world is a sanctuary of peace, a place of safety and security where she forms new stories from the shapes of different creatures.
As Peijing starts to feel at home in Australia, she questions what she can do to help her family in this foriegn land. Follow Peijing in this heartwarming book and how she leads her family through the struggles of culture shock and change.
I particularly resonated with this book as I moved back to Australia after 11 years of living overseas and had to face changes in my lifestyle, different cultural expectations and ideals. I love the theme of identity that is interwoven throughout this book.
I would recommend this book for readers aged 9 and above. I’m sure you will enjoy this exceptional fiction novel. I rate this amazing book 5/5.
Read our interview with the author, Shirley Marr.
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