Charlie Burr lives in a small town in Western Australia with Dad, Mum and two older sisters Tia and Sharni. Together with his best mate Johnno, he is constantly on the lookout for opportunities to make money and perplexed when things go wrong. Gross-out humour is a feature of the books – there’s plenty of poo and spew. Unique features of life in a regional community are incorporated – when people are ill or injured, they go to a Nursing Post, and visitors to the town are ‘blow-ins from Perth’.
In this book: A practical joke sets off a miserable week for Charlie’s Mum who suffers one accident after another, in the week leading up to her birthday. He thought the plastic cockroach was funny till it got tangled in Mum’s hair - it had to be clipped out - and now she has a bald spot. His dog Spike chews the bubble bath and so Charlie uses laundry detergent instead …. Best mate Johnno hits on the idea of a moneymaking stall at the school fete but their rival Tim has a galah that swears on command - how can they beat that? A lucky raffle win saves the day.
Peter Sheehan’s cover pictures Charlie wearing a singlet with an Aboriginal flag design. Internal illustrations as chapter headings evoke a school exercise book, and the design of animal paw prints to break up the text within chapters will help to scaffold readers. The seven chapters of each book are named for the days of the week, setting the pace of the novel and assuring the newly confident reader of a satisfying ending.
Helen Joanne Adam Lecturer in Literacy Education and Children’s Literature has defined five categories of cultural representation in books for children. Although her research focus is primarily picture books, her definition of ‘culturally authentic’ applies to this series: ‘a main character from a minority background and are usually written by an author from the background represented.’ Badimaya Yamatji/African American academic Kirsten Hausia talks about the value of books like this as featuring everyday characters.
About the Authors: Sally Morgan and Ambelin, Blaze and Ezekiel Kwaymullina are a family of writers who write as a group and individually. They belong to the Palyku people, from the Pilbara Region of Western Australia. They love writing, reading books, listening to stories and music, walking their dogs, painting and drawing, and having a good laugh. (Especially at each other!)
Illustrator Peter Sheehan does not identify as an Aboriginal person.
Series: Charlie Burr no 3