His Name Was Walter - Emily Rodda CBCA Shortlist 2019
It's no secret that Emily Rodda is a fantastic Australian author, but honestly I think this is my favourite thing I've read that she's written!
When my husband asked "What's that book about?", I had to reply with "...A book". It's a story within a story, both equally compelling and beautifully told.
Colin is on a school trip when the bus breaks down (a teachers worst nightmare! In fact.... that could be another name for this book!). He and three other students offer to stay behind with one of their teachers while the others walk into town. Unfortunately, they end up stranded and having to spend the night in a creepy house just up the hill. Inside the house, Colin finds an old handwritten book with eerily realistic pictures. Strange things begin to happen in the house as they read through the story.
(Also, check out how beautiful the cover is!)
Rating: 5 out of 5. This gave me Jumanji vibes (the original, not the remake). Often when you have a story within a story, there will be one that you tend to want to rush through to get to the other, but that wasn't the case with this!
Age Suggestion: 7+ is the recommendation for this category of awards, and I'd agree!
Ability Range: 10+. At nearly 300 pages with small print, a complex vocabulary and some old fashioned language, it's definitely aimed at a more advanced reader. It would also make a great read-aloud!
Content Notes: The main note here is that if you can't handle ghosts or the supernatural, you might have to give this one a miss. There isn't a whole lot of paranormal stuff, but there's definitely a spooky vibe in the house the whole time, plus a ghost or two along the way. There's a bit of witchcraft mentioned early on too.
This is definitely one that belongs in every library and on the bookshelf of any young Australian bookworm!