Having been honoured by my dear friend Amber Harvey’s request that I preview and critique her first novel for children, Magda’s Mayne Island Mystery, I read it together with my ten-year-old grandaughter. We had fun in Magda’s island world watching the fictional yet believable characters deal with both life’s easy and tougher challenges.
This island setting is familar to my grandaughter and I. We recognised the charm of the place in Amber’s quietly inserted descriptions. Like all good stories, the tale is universal – something like blaming others solves no conflict, look to your own feelings and needs. Again, it’s quietly inserted, no moralising, no shoulds or ought to’s.
Alas that first granddaughter became a teenager and was already into vampire stories when Amber’s second book in the series Mayne Island Aliens was published. I enjoyed it on my own. Now my second granddaughter is coming up to the age for Magda so I have an excellent excuse to read them again! Happily there will be three mysteries to enjoy with the publication of Mayne Island Skeletons. I look forward to hours of reading with my grandaughter snuggled beside me. But I might just sneak a read first when I get my hands on a copy of Skeletons because I can never let a good story sit on the shelf.
PS Like a good elder I read one of those vampire stories, just to check ‘em out and have to admit I might well have been attracted at thirteen!
full-time grand-mother, social activist and retired teacher-librarian