I've become very fond of verse novels over the past few years, I really can't fully explain it as I'm so terrible at reading poetry. Of course, the reading speed is great, it's not that often that I can knock over a book in a day- I've been known to fall asleep reading a picture book...
I'd been meaning to read Star Jumps for years, probably since it won the Prime Ministers Literary Award for Children's Fiction in 2010 (the first time that a Children's category was included).
Star Jumps is the story of a dairy farming family told in first person by the youngest of the three children, Ruby. Ruby is young enough to not remember a day of rain, she has grown up in drought and knows nothing else.
There is something we don't understand,
as if we were just kids,
grubby in old clothes,
playing in weeds,
with a dog that doesn't scare strangers
and cows that want to die
of making milk.The cows, the farm and the family are all doing it tough because of the drought. Star Jumps is about the ties that bind, making your own fun, and coming together in the hard times. Themes that would be familiar to any rural family, and many urban families, but with less cows.
Lorraine Marwood is an Australian poet and author, and was a dairy farmer herself for many years, and this definitely shows in her depth of understanding of farming, of the practicalities and the hardships. But she kept saying that the newborn calves were baaing.
The gentle baaing from the five new calvesI'm confused. Do calves baa?
I am probably more annoyed than I should be that the kid on the cover is doing a handstand and not a star jump. Otherwise I do like the image of the cover.
Teacher's Notes for Star Jumps