Book reviews by Rebecca, teachers' resources

Book Review: Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck

Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck by Michelle Gillespie and illustrated Sonia Martinez. Published by Fremantle Press, ISBN 9781921696008.
(A review copy of this book was sent to us by the publisher.)

Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck (cover)

A ship—the Georgette—runs aground in Calgardup Bay WA in December 1876. This is the true story of a shipwreck and the daring rescue of the survivors by stockman Sam Isaacs and sixteen-year-old Grace Bussell, both on horseback.

This picture book tells an exciting story and it’s great to read aloud. Here are the opening words:

There is something about this morning—a quiet in the hills, a shiver in the air—something that prickles the nose of the stockman’s horse.

The illustrations show the drama as it unfolds and have the feel of long-ago adventure—with sepia coloured backgrounds framing lots of the artwork. We also love books with interesting endpapers, and the endpapers in this book are paintings showing scenes before and after the events in the story.

At the end of the book you’ll find a summary of the events of that day and a brief biography of the author and illustrator (apparently the illustrator drew lots of horses when she was growing up, and it came in handy for illustrating this story!).

Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck has adventure, bravery, history … and horses. You’ll love it!

© November 2011 “Review of Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck by Michelle Gillespie & Sonia Martinez” by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)

Three Quick Questions: James Foley (#5)

All through October, Alphabet Soup is celebrating turning three. We have heaps of writers and illustrators stopping by to answer THREE QUICK QUESTIONS and today’s visitor is James Foley, illustrator of picture book The Last Viking (by Norman Jorgensen).

"The Last Viking (cover)"

1. Where do you like to draw?

My favourite place to draw is in my room, really early in the morning, while it’s still quiet, before the pets wake up … penguins can be very noisy when they’re hungry, and spider monkeys are incredibly grouchy until they’ve had a cup of tea and some toast.

2. Can you name a book you’d recommend to our readers?

Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck written by new author Michelle Gillespie, illustrated by the incredibly talented Sonia Martinez. It’s coming out this month (October) and looks amazing. It’s the true story of how Sam Isaacs and Grace Bussell saved the crew and passengers of the Georgette when it was wrecked off the South West coast of WA a long time ago.

Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck, recommended by James Foley as a good read!

3. Can you offer a word or phrase that kids could use for inspiration if they have writer’s or illustrator’s block?

” … and that’s why my mum joined the circus.”

Find out more about James Foley and his books—visit his website and check out the official Last Viking blog.

© October 2011 “Three Quick Questions with James Foley” by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)

(Psst … see you back here on Monday, when author Tania McCartney answers our Three Quick Questions.)