Kindergarten-Grade 2–Eight-year-old Grace describes a three-month trip around Australia with her Mum; Dad; older brother, Luke; and younger brother, Billy (he's the one who keeps up the refrain of the title). Hitching up Poppa's old camper trailer behind their car, this amiable family takes a winter term off from school to experience the remarkable diversity of their country. The varied layout, with text judiciously interspersed among the appealing illustrations, gives readers the experience of browsing through a family album. This is more than just a sightseeing tour as the family members react and interact, often humorously, on their journey. (Mother is afraid of heights–until that scary bungee ride at Surfers Paradise, which she loves). The text assumes local knowledge, (e.g., the Nullarbor Plain, Quokkas, or the Bungle Bungles) without benefit of a glossary, though a detailed map on the front endpapers clearly labels locations and sights. Young armchair travelers interested in Australia may be limited in number, but those who embark will find this an enjoyable trip. –Caroline Ward, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 2-4. Eight-year-old Grace, her parents, and her two brothers embark on a six-month-long journey to tour their country, Australia. Driving around the perimeter of the continent (except when they plunge into the Outback to visit places such as Alice Springs and Uluru) they drive, swim, hike, enjoy zoos, museums, and tourist sites; observe the changing landscape; play Monopoly on rainy days; and visit relatives. Written in Grace's voice, the text has a colloquial lilt and a consistently childlike point of view, giving the book an appealing informality lacking in more conventional treatments. Readers can refer to small maps throughout the book as they chart the family's progress. Lively and detailed, the colorful ink-and-watercolor artwork creates visual impressions through dozens of individual pictures. Evidently based on Lester's own travels, this brightly illustrated book makes an attractive and effective introduction to Australia. Carolyn Phelan Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved