Mrs Whitlam – Children’s Book Week Review

‘Marnie Clark dreams of owning a horse
and having the whole world to ride it in.’

Mrs Whitlam by Bruce Pascoe

Like Marnie Clark, I also dreamed of having a horse of my own. My dream horse was pitch black with a white star and I was going to call her Midnight Star. It might have been because my dad had his own horse – a black horse with a white blaze and three white socks. I wasn’t allowed to ride my dad’s horse whose name was Tanda. He was a big horse, part Arab and temperamental. My dad described him as ‘toey’. One afternoon my dad was thrown by Tanda and hit the ground head first. He said he could see stars swirling around his head – just like in the cartoons. It’s probably just as well I was never allowed to ride Tanda!

While I dreamed of one day owning a horse called Midnight Star, Marnie Clark dreams of one day owning a horse called Cloud or Windrush or Willow or Riverstone. But Marnie is given a horse with the unusual name of Mrs Margaret Whitlam.  Marnie calls her Maggie. Maggie is part Clydesdale and has large, hairy feet and a big bum. But Maggie needs to be loved and Marnie knows that she could love this heavy-footed horse, given to her following a tragic accident.

And so the relationship between Maggie and Marnie develops and grows. A strong bond between them sees Maggie become Marnie’s best friend. The bond between them becomes so strong that Maggie saves Marnie from drowning in the swift current of the river. But Maggie isn’t the only hero, Marnie is also a hero. Marnie had plunged into the river to save a baby boy being swept out towards the sea.

I found this story to be engaging, it flowed well and was easy to read. Complex themes such as racism, bullying and grief were touched upon but not explored in any depth. However, the opportunity to examine these issues more closely is there. I enjoyed the distinctly Australian feel of the story and I was drawn in emotionally right from the first short chapter. My main criticism is that I felt the story was over too quickly and I was left wanting more. It had the potential to be a longer story with more grit and depth and a more satisfying ending.

In case you are wondering, like Marnie, I did get a horse of my own. A beautiful palomino named Honey.

Mrs Whitlam has been shortlisted for the Australian Children’s Book Council Younger Reader’s Book of the Year.


Karen

Author: Karen

I completed my tertiary qualification in Library and Information Studies in 1991 and began my career as a Librarian at the Supreme Court Law Library in 1992. Later that same year, I took a position as a Reference Librarian at the Perth Public Library and have been working in public libraries ever since. I have become very interested in the importance of early literacy and the significant relationship between reading for pleasure and the future success of a child.

Share This Post On
468 ad

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »

Mrs Whitlam – Children’s Book Week Review

by Karen time to read: 2 min
0

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Google Plus

Follow Me on Pinterest
  • STEM Activities: Learning about Constellations - Crafts, Sculptures, & iPad App

    Pinned: 8 Aug 2016
  • For guest room! They did this every night on our cruise and I loved it!

    Pinned: 5 Aug 2016
  • Rainbow cow

    Pinned: 2 Aug 2016
  • 30 Inspirational Quotes from Fictional Teachers and Mentors - Playgroundequipme... - Infographic

    Pinned: 2 Aug 2016
  • Your preschool and/or kindergarten students will have fun creating our C Is for Cat letter craft and letter-sound association activities for the hard "Cc" sound as in "cat."  C Is for Cat Letter Craft What you need:

    Pinned: 2 Aug 2016
  • More 2D Shape Animal Crafts A Fox Freebie!

    Pinned: 2 Aug 2016
  • My rule of life: #1 "If you want something you never had, you have to do something you've never done."

    Pinned: 27 Jul 2016
  • Do what is right, not what is easy. -- read: http://www.marcandangel.com/2015/09/16/12-laws-of-happiness-that-will-change-your-life/

    Pinned: 27 Jul 2016
  • Paper Bag Ninja Craft for Kids ...Hi-Yah! | I Heart Crafty Things

    Pinned: 22 Jul 2016
  • These are some beautiful quotes to read when you are depressed, sad or just need a little bit of motivation! Love yourself, read them, raise and shine!

    Pinned: 22 Jul 2016

Instagram

Follow Me on Instagram
  • Entry box for Children's Book Week competition. Someone's going to win an iPad

    cockburnlibraries: "Entry box for Children's Book Week competition.  Someone's going to win an iPad"
    4
    0
  • It seems library bags aren't just for books #internationalcatday. #cat #catsofinstagram #librarybag #libraries

    cockburnlibraries: "It seems library bags aren't just for books #internationalcatday.
#cat #catsofinstagram #librarybag #libraries"
    28
    0
  • The countdown is on. It's almost time to #escapetoeverywhere this #cbw The Children's Book Week celebrations start on August 18 with #storytime #pramjams #rhymetime #competitions and more. Check out our website now for all of the information. #kidsactivities #librariesofinstagram #librarianlife #childrensevents

    cockburnlibraries: "The countdown is on. It's almost time to #escapetoeverywhere this #cbw The Children's Book Week celebrations start on August 18 with #storytime #pramjams #rhymetime #competitions and more. Check out our website now for all of the information. #kidsactivities #librariesofinstagram #librarianlife #childrensevents"
    21
    0
  • Come and visit us at Len Packham Hall in Coolbellup at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children's Day #natsicd there is lots of information and even a #sausagesizzle 3:30-5pm today #kidsactivities #librariesofinstagram #librarianlife #childrensevents #indigenous

    cockburnlibraries: "Come and visit us at Len Packham Hall in Coolbellup at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children's Day #natsicd there is lots of information and even a #sausagesizzle 3:30-5pm today #kidsactivities #librariesofinstagram #librarianlife #childrensevents #indigenous"
    21
    0
  • Science books? We've got heaps #scienceweek #natsciwk.

    cockburnlibraries: "Science books? We've got heaps #scienceweek #natsciwk."
    14
    0
  • When you find a book from 1986 on the shelf. . #80s #librarybooks #library #book #awfullibrarybooks

    cockburnlibraries: "When you find a book from 1986 on the shelf.
.
#80s #librarybooks #library #book #awfullibrarybooks"
    39
    2
  • Who let the dogs out?

    cockburnlibraries: "Who let the dogs out?"
    21
    1
  • Come check out Success Library's new #booksale every is $2. Coolbellup and Spearwood have them too for pre-loved #library #books #librariesofinstagram #librarylife #librarybooks

    cockburnlibraries: "Come check out Success Library's new #booksale every is $2. Coolbellup and Spearwood have them too for pre-loved #library #books #librariesofinstagram #librarylife #librarybooks"
    22
    0
  • New #lego stocks have arrived just in time for Friday's Lego Club

    cockburnlibraries: "New #lego stocks have arrived just in time for Friday's Lego Club"
    32
    0
  • It's raining, it's pouring, the new dogs are not snoring. They think it's neat, they like the beat, and we'll all hear thunder by morning. #librariesofinstagram #librarianlife #raining #rainydays

    cockburnlibraries: "It's raining, it's pouring, the new dogs are not snoring. They think it's neat, they like the beat, and we'll all hear thunder by morning. #librariesofinstagram #librarianlife #raining #rainydays"
    25
    0