'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 5 June 2024

Review: Jack's Island

Set during WW2, on an island off the coast of Australia, best friends Jack and Banjo seek to experience adventure and excitement at every opportunity, no matter how dangerous or threatening it is. Their motto is, don’t get caught!

For the people of the island, after experiencing the hardship of the Depression, it seems that lack will never end. Lack of food, lack of clothing, and lack of work.

It is a time when teachers are needed. Those that served in the Great War are called back to teaching duty. But there are some still unfit mentally and emotionally for the job.

Dunny cans and red-backed spiders, building billy-carts, the secret manipulation of the law to keep a boy from being put in a home, and a life-threatening swim in dangerous waters to save the boys’ lives, are part of the structure of this riveting story.

Lights have been sighted in the caves and soldiers guarding the island are on alert. The threat of a Japanese invasion is a daily concern. The helmet and rifle the boys have found, are thought to belong to a Japanese soldier, who for some reason, has been left behind on the island.

The boys are asked to keep a watch-out and report anything suspicious. They love the idea. It gives them a reason to rove unexamined around the area.

Jack’s Island is an excellent examination of an historical time that presents the many hardships people experienced. We view a simple life made rich by the strong sense of community, sharing, resourcefulness and kindness in each person on the island. It’s about survival and making it through the difficult challenges forced on people due to war.

Readers interested in that era, will thrill at the content of the book. Stories within stories built on superb detail, fantastic lovable characters, brilliant settings, and lots of humour.

I loved this book! I am encouraged to look for other titles by this gifted writer.

Title: Jack's Island
Author: Norman Jorgensen
Publisher:Fremantle Press, $17.99
Publication Date: 1 February 2024
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760992958
For ages: 10+
Type: Middle Grade Fiction