Book Review - "Under The Bridge" by Jeannie Meekins

Karen McTackett By Karen McTackett, 19th Jan 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2q89l9zq/
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Children's Books

Under the Bridge - by Jeannie Meekins (2013) - Children's Novel
E-Book approximately 40 pages
Under the Bridge is a beautifully written and illustrated tale of two friends who teach each other that how others perceive them is not how they must perceive themselves. Highly recommended for reading age 10-12 though would appeal to a wide age group.

Introduction

There are few of us that can say we were never bullied at school. It is a sad reality that although we are all different, that difference can be a target for others who are themselves probably also bullied. Under the Bridge is a beautifully written and illustrated children's book by Australian author Jeannie Meekins that addresses this very real issue and provides a very valuable lesson to the reader. “One day you might be the one no one wants to play with,” Mrs Wheeler warns the school bully. But it is not just about bullying, there is also the wonderfully presented idea of seeing the world from a different perspective.

Storyline

Under the Bridge is set in an Australian school that I would hazard to guess is in Melbourne due to a very Victorian discussion of AFL teams that takes place between a group of children. Michael is new at the school - an already difficult situation without the addition of being harassed for his ethnicity. Michael meets another boy, Kyle, who is also different though not as obviously, and they strike up a friendship. As the two friends learn about themselves and teach each other about their differing worlds, the gap between differences closes. And as expected, the school bully learns a valuable lesson in understanding.

A Lesson to Learn

The journey of Under the Bridge addresses the themes of racism, sexism, and unconscious discrimination and assumptions. Jeannie Meekins has woven all of these through her piece using very typical and relatable situations and interactions. I have read similar stories that explore the themes of bullying and discrimination, but what sets Under the Bridge apart as unique, aside from the beautiful Australian setting, is the way in which the lessons are presented. The learning and knowledge come through a child who himself is discriminated against, not by the other children but by the adults in his life who want to protect him yet are preventing him from being a part of the society of children he interacts with. Children can be cruel, but adults can be blind.

Illustrations

This book is beautifully illustrated by AT Davidson who captures the Australian landscape with colourful depictions of the Australian flora and fauna. The illustrations add colour and clarity to the words and are perfectly positioned throughout the work. The school children are presented in uniforms that all Australian children would be familiar with complete with the typically Australian broad-brimmed hats. The children’s expressions are very easy to read and compliment the story. The intelligent and wise beyond his years, Kyle, often wears a broad smile that shows his optimistic approach to life. AT Davidson is a fine artist with a high attention to detail that allows the viewer to feel the warmth of the sun through the placement of shadows.

Final Thoughts

The vocabulary would be suited to a child with a reading age of 10 to 12 though would appeal to children outside of this age bracket. The vocabulary is age appropriate and the characters are highly relatable even if their specific differences are not. The author does not use the differences themselves to get her point across but rather the children's feeling about how they are treated and how they respond to this. A great read with a valuable and timely message.

Links

Jeannie Meekins:
* Storm Cloud Publishing
* Facebook

Read more about Jeannie Meekins and Under the Bridge including links to stockists HERE.

Jeannie Meekins is a self-published author and a member of the Hidden Reads Community.

Read other reviews by Porle Joen:
* Music Review: The Red Paintings - The Revolution is Never Coming (music)
* Red Queen by Honey Brown (novel)
* Red Hill (2010) (film)

Tags

Blindness, Book Review, Bullying, Children, Discrimination, Friendship, Novel, School, Tolerance

Meet the author

author avatar Karen McTackett
www.iamacademy.com.au
* Professional Writer/Facilitator/Speaker
* Writing Mentoring & Freelancer
* Master of Arts (Writing)
* WRITE NOW Creator -
https://www.facebook.com/groups/WriteNowHub/

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Comments

author avatar Phyl Campbell
23rd Jan 2014 (#)

Nicely written. I'm surprised to be the first to comment. I look forward to checking out your other reviews -- and your venue pieces.

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