Title: The Sugarcane Kids and the Red-Bottomed Boat
Author: Charlie Archbold
Reviewer: Donna Dobson
A simple and fun read that children will enjoy as it does not take too long to read, and when getting kids into reading that is important. You want children to finish a book, feel a sense of accomplishment, and leaves them ready to devour another… and then repeat.
The Sugarcane kids are four young children who live in far North Queensland, so they know to keep an eye out for crocodiles, particularly a large saltwater crocodile called Sebastian.
Andy shares his time between his mum and his dad; each parent having a new partner, but they generally get along.
Andy enjoys the time with his mum, as his best friend Eli lives nearby.
The crux of the story is that Eli’s older brother Jacob is arrested for jewellery theft and his court case is looming. Whilst Jacob is in custody, Andy and Eli decide to investigate because they are certain that Jacob is innocent.
With the help of two other friends, and Andy’s sausage dog Washington, the foursome starts an investigation that takes them into the mangroves and into the territory of the legendary Sebastian.
Woven into the plot, are subplots of a schoolyard bully, diverse family situations, Aussie/Indonesian culture, and push-bike riding fun. This book engages the reader as it is simple, interesting, subtly funny, and contains enough suspense to hold the reader captive.