Steel Pelicans is about two friends called Dean Steele and Pete Kelly who are the Steel Pelicans of the story. The story starts in Wollongong, Australia where Dean and Pete have spent most of their life. Dean gets them into all sorts of trouble, especially when it comes to mucking around with explosives. Pete’s parents don’t like him hanging around with Dean, and when Pete’s grandmother in New Zealand becomes ill his family decide to move to Auckland to look after her. Dean doesn’t want Pete to go and gets him involved in one last dangerous stunt before he leaves. It’s not long before Pete becomes friends with Afi at his new school. Pete’s parents approve of Afi and let Pete go and stay with Afi and his family at their batch in Port Waikato. It’s here that Pete and Afi stumble on a smuggling operation and find themselves in deep trouble, which only gets worse when Dean comes over for the holidays. They’re about to learn that they shouldn’t mess with the Redfern family.
Steel Pelicans is a classic Des Hunt story with all the adventure, mystery and danger that make his stories so good. His stories are usually set just in New Zealand but this story starts in Australia as that’s where the two main characters are from. One thing I like about his stories is that they have a real Kiwi feel about them and they’re set in different parts of the country, from the Coromandel to the West Coast to Port Waikato. He always adds an ecological message into the story and this time it’s about fishing and Paradise Ducks. I always finish his books knowing that I’ve read a great story and learnt a little bit about New Zealand wildlife at the same time.
I really liked the characters of Pete (or Pelly) and Dean. They’re almost complete opposites but somehow are still best mates. I liked how Des Hunt added a second friend into the mix because it created some conflict between the three boys. Des Hunt also really knows how to write scumbag villains, whether they’re gang members or drug dealers, and you can imagine that they’re the sort of people who might live in your neighbourhood. If you’re a fan of Des Hunt’s books you’ll love Steel Pelicans, but if you haven’t read any of his books then this one is a great one to start with.
Review by Zac Harding. Review taken with kind permission from http://wwwchristchurchkidsblog.wordpress.com
It’s the school holidays and Zac thinks he might go crazy with boredom. He’s living in exile with his disgraced father on the remote Terawhiti Station on Wellington’s wild southwest coast. Then Zac and his dad witness a boat sink during a storm. Investigating further, Zac finds a set of unusual animal prints on the beach. Whose boat is it? And what creature could have made the prints? Soon armed men are prowling the coast, and threatening Zac, his friends and his family. He must do all he can to protect the Phantom of Terawhiti from those intent on hunting it down.
Phantom of Terawhiti is an action-packed adventure story, packed with mystery, armed and angry Russians, brainless hunters, wild weather, a car chase, and a race against time. Des Hunt is a gifted storyteller who never fails to write a story that grips readers and makes you keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. In Phantom of Terawhiti there are plenty of heart-stopping moments, especially when Zac and Jess clash with the Russians. The mystery of the ‘Phantom of Terawhiti’ draws you in and, even when the creature is revealed, you wonder how it will survive in the wild with the hunters trying to track it down.
Like the main characters in his other books, Zac and Jess are just normal Kiwi kids, who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (or maybe the right place at the right time). Zac gets dragged by his dad to come and live on the remote Terawhiti Station, and it’s while he’s here that he discovers the wreck of the yacht and the paw prints in the sand. When they discover the Phantom of Terawhiti, Zac and Jess know that they must do everything they can to protect it.
Phantom of Terawhiti is one of Des Hunt’s best books so far and I can’t wait to see where in the country he will take us to next.
Reviewed by Zac Harding. Review taken with kind permission from http://www.christchurchkidsblog.wordpress.com.
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