"Night was falling, dark and dank. The dog stood beside the wreckage, gazing up at the sky. Slowly a large red moon rose over the mountain, flooding the snow in bloody light. Ice lifted her muzzle to the moon and howled, long and sad."
When Zac chooses the rescue dog with the startling ice-blue eyes, little does he know the danger and adventure that will unravel as the mystery around the tracking dog becomes a fight for survival against a terrifying enemy.
Set in the mountains of the beautiful South Island of New Zealand, this is a book that will appeal to children who love animals and enjoy a fast-paced adventure story. The illustrations are by Minky Stapleton.
Ice tells the story of Zac and his companion rescue dog who is a white-furred Shepard named Ice. They stumble across a terrifying secret based in the wild mountains of southern New Zealand and a dangerous adventure unfolds. Ice is written by Susan Brocker who has over 50 books under her belt and when she was visiting South Africa she found inspiration to write this story based on the hardships and challenges wildlife have there. She gathered a lot of information over in South Africa from wildlife rangers and books about illegal wildlife poaching and hunting to help her with this story. One of the other inspirations for this story was also her own dog named Loki who is also a white-furred Shepard.
This story is awesome for people progressing to chapter-based stories such as novels as the chapters are quite short being only roughly a few pages each chapter. At the start of the book is also an index that tells you the title of each chapter. The story itself is fast-paced and tense which will keep you on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what happens next. The Illustrations were produced by Minky Stapleton and they portray the emotions and situation of the story so well. My two daughters aged 13 and 16 loved this story very much and read through it over a couple of days each.
I recommend this story to anyone that has a love for animals and likes fast-paced stories that are full of adventure. This is a fantastic story and has been well thought out which shows all the situations going on in the story. Susan Brocker absolutely loves animals and you can really see this throughout the story. All in all this is a great read and I look forward to browsing the other range of stories she has written.
This book could equally have been called "Blou" as that is the Afrikaner name originally given to the German shepherd who is one of the key protagonists. Both names, "Blou" and "Ice", refer to her stunning appearance - an unusual white coat coupled with ice blue eyes. Zac acquires Ice as a companion, hopefully to wean him off his addiction to computer gaming, with no idea of what the future holds for them. What could have been a heart-warming tale of the bond between a boy and his dog unexpectedly develops into a full-on, fast-paced adventure set in Central Otago in the South Island of New Zealand.
Pivotal to the story is the theme of international wildlife trafficking as opposed to conservation and protection of endangered species. Readers who are passionate about animal rights will enjoy the dynamics between the two groups; they will also appreciate the grey area between the two. In some parts of the world there is a choice to be made between saving yourself and your immediate family and looking at the bigger picture. The characters of Lwazi and Skull highlight this grey area, albeit in completely different ways.
I would like to have seen Mason's character fleshed out more. Although he plays an important role in the second half of the story, he is almost a shadow of his father compared to Zac and Stevie. Otherwise, the characters are true to life. Zac, the self-confessed geek who often has problems with telling the truth, is a likeable teenager; although he can be difficult, he is willing to accept that his father is not the ogre he assumed him to be. Stevie, Zac's stepsister, is a thoroughly nice person who gets along with everyone. As for Mr Slagter, he is an interesting "Boss" with an amazingly ugly house that Zac describes a "sewage treatment plant"!
The plot unfolds at speed to the extent that sometimes I found it difficult to keep up - but it was so compelling that I read the book from start to finish in one sitting. Although at times they stretched the imagination, none of the events were actually impossible. The only time I felt the text did not ring true was Slagter's response to Zac's inadvertent juxtaposition of the words "evil" and "vile" - I doubt that the reference to anagrams would have been used in a life-or-death situation. It was meant to be funny, but for me it did not work.
Since I enjoyed the book so much, I asked two young people - one aged ten, the other 15 - to read it and give me their feedback. The younger was fascinated by the intelligence shown by Ice. He has a dog, also a German shepherd, and knows that this breed is very bright, but Ice's problem-solving and ability to pick up on whether humans were good or evil were skills he had not seen in his own dog. He was also interested in the dynamic between Zac and his stepmother Anna as he too lives in a blended family. His older brother, Mr 15, is into gaming so was especially interested in the way Zac could use his online experiences to help him get information. Both boys enjoyed the thrill of the adventure and were suitably satisfied with the way it all ended.
Having the feedback from two boys of very different ages was encouraging because I too, as an adult, thoroughly enjoyed the yarn. It helped too that I am very familiar with the Central Otago area, even down to the tree in Lake Wanaka, and have myself been tramping in the snowy hills around Cardona and driven the Crown Range Road when it is covered with black ice. That made the book even more appealing; I will no doubt read it again.
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I poroteke, i taka, i he katoa te rere tuatahitanga a Flit. Engari, kei ona hoa, ko Kiki, ko Bit, ko Bob, ko Keri ratou ko Ruru, tetahi whakaaro ngaio! Ka taea ano e ratou a Flit te whakahoki ake ki te kohanga?
Ko te tuhinga tuatahi tenei o tetahi rarangitanga hou, rarangitanga ataahua, kua tuhia mai e tenei, te kaituhi o te pukapuka Kuwi the Kiwi.
Na Ngaere Roberts nga korero i whakamaori.
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