I bought Piano Rock on my last trip to New Zealand two years ago, but hadn't got to reading it yet. So I figured it would be perfect reading material for my recent trip over the Tasman. It certainly was, it filled an hour or so of my time on the plane beautifully.
Piano Rock is the story of Gavin Bishop's early childhood in the remote parts of the South Island of New Zealand in the 1950s. Three year old Gavin arrives in Kingston in 1949 with his parents. Gavin's father has moved the family to Kingston on the edge of Lake Wakatipu for his job with the New Zealand Railways.
He starts school early at 4.
"Might as well," Mr McLeod, the teacher, said to Mum. "He's ready for school."
Kingston School was a one room school, with 12 pupils and one teacher, a mile from Gavin's house. Four year old Gavin walked to school and back, occasionally the kids next door would give them a ride on their big old horse, Chum. Gavin was the only one in his class and would receive special sums and lessons.
I drew forts and houses on my printing books and dogs and cars on my arithmetic books. One day I was asked to write the alphabet on the blackboard. When I put funny faces and arms and legs on the letters I got a smack from the teacher.
My copy of Piano Rock, is a beautiful hard bound copy, with a textured cover, and illustrations throughout. A style emulated by the newer release The ACB with Honora Lee by Kate De Goldi, which I should have bought while I was there. Actually there were a few books I should have bought while I was there over Christmas, New Zealand titles don't seem to be that available here in Australia, but it is nice to try and keep up with a few Kiwi authors.
Piano Rock was a finalist for the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards.