Meet Sam at the Mangrove Creek
Puffin Books, 2020
5-8yrs, Lower Primary, Primary
AC Links/EYLFEYLF1, EYLF2, EYLF3, EYLF4, EYLF5, ACELA1428, ACELT1575, ACELT1783, ACELT1580, ACELT1831, ACHASSK015
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- Adventure stories
- Darwin (NT Top End SD52-04)
- Fishing stories
- Homeless persons
- Rivers and creeks
Right from the beginning, ‘Meet Sam at the Mangrove Creek’ invites the reader into the book, introducing the main character, Sam, and the place where he lives––the Top End in the Northern Territory. A postcard then reveals what the story is about and invites the reader to join Sam on his fishing adventure.
Designed for emerging readers, the book has mainly short chapters and a straightforward text. However Seden doesn’t write down to children, and the book sometimes contains both challenging vocabulary and complex sentences. The book features engaging cartoon-style illustrations in grey and white, with bright green highlights. The mix of vignette and full-page illustrations helps break up the text.
The story revolves around Sam and his dog Bazza as they head to the creek to go fishing for barramundi with Sam’s new throw net. Seden establishes the close relationship between the boy and his pet right from the get-go, and convincingly invites the reader into their world. The story also features Sam’s friend Peter and his dog Patch, who join the fishing expedition.
Sam believes in an old curse that says that a fishing expedition will not be successful if someone has brought along bananas, so he is thrown when Peter––who obviously loves his food––pulls out a bag of banana lollies. When he can’t get his new net to work properly, Sam blames the bananas. However, it turns out to be a case of not knowing how to use the net properly. Luckily for Sam, an elderly Indigenous man, whom the boys encounter on their way to the creek, helps them out. Once Sam knows how to wield the net, success is theirs.
On the way home, they thank the old man for his help. When they realise that he is homeless, Sam does the right thing and gives the man all the fish they have caught. The boys then head home empty handed––although they still have some banana lollies left! A section at the end of the book provides fun facts about mangroves plus insights into the author and illustrator.
Paul Seden is descended from the Wuthathi and Muralag people of North Queensland, but he grew up in Darwin. He works as a Fisheries Officer, and writes about his fishing adventures with his family. His other books include ‘Kick with My Left Foot’ (a CBCA Notable Book and a shortlisted book in the Speech Pathology Book of the Year Awards––Indigenous Children in 2015) and ‘Crabbing with Dad’ (shortlisted in the ABIA Children’s Book of the Year Awards 2017 and the KOALA Children’s Choice Awards 2019).
Brenton McKenna is an Indigenous author and illustrator who was born and raised in Broome. His love of reading and writing began when he discovered comic books. He now creates graphic novels as well as illustrating children’s books. He was the recipient of a mentorship with the Australian Society of Authors.
‘Meet Sam at the Mangrove Creek’ is part of the Aussie Kids series for emerging readers, featuring eight books about eight children, one each from an Australian state or territory, many of whom are from different ethnic backgrounds.
Series: Aussie Kids
- Penguin Books Australia. Teachers’ Resources. ‘Aussie Kids: Meet Sam at the Mangrove Creek, Paul Seden and Brenton McKenna.’ https://cdn2.penguin.com.au/content/resources/TR_Aussie%20Kids_Meet%20Sam%20at%20the%20Mangrove%20Creek.pdf
- Penguin Books Australia. ‘Aussie Kids Activity Pack.’ https://www.penguin.com.au/activities/2544-aussie-kids-activity-pack
- Just So Stories Blog 25 July 2020 by Sue Warren. ‘Aussie Kids Paul Seden.’ https://losangzopa.wordpress.com/tag/paul-seden/
- ABC Radio National AWAYE program 14 May 2016. ‘Interview with Paul Seden’. https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/awaye/crabbing-with-dad:-paul-seden/7308376
- ABC News 24 Aug 2019. ‘Brenton E. McKenna.’ https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-24/story-behind-brenton-e-mckennas-graphic-novel-success/11239202
- Forever Wild. ‘How to throw cast net Australia fishing for barramundi.’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5esU1AGzc2s