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Dunger - Joyce Cowley

The publisher Gecko pick favourite books from around the world to bring them to a wider audience. Dunger is alternately narrated by sister and brother Melissa and William as they are plucked from their expected summer holiday plans and promised $1000 NZ to accompany their elderly and, dare I suggest, somewhat eccentric granny and grandad to their beach hut to help with some repairs.

They are used to phones and connectivity, so it is a shock to them to endure the lack of amenities at the back of beyond. But the book is utterly charming and engaging; the youngsters step up to the plate and in doing so find what is precious in family, frugality, and living off the land (or sea). They are able to draw on an undiscovered core of strength and recently acquired skills in time of need. I fell in love with the family, the ageing hippy generation, the youngsters and the inbetweeners and I was sad the book ended.

A great holiday read to share, read aloud, or pass around for family bonding. 9+

Joyce Cowley is a New Zealand author. You may know her for another favourite of ours - Snake and Lizard.

Other great books about family include Saffy's Angel, by Hilary McKay; Moon Pie by Simon Mason, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Framed by Frank Cotterell Boyce to name but a very few. But these say something special.

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