Illustrated by Ann James
Allen & Unwin
My name’s Quentin and I’m in this book. Errol Broome wanted to call it Between the Flags, because that’s where we swam and that’s where Mum tried to keep me – all the time! I knew one day I’d break out, even if I got eaten by a shark. But I didn’t swim out to sea. I set out along the coastal track, across the cliffs searching for the umbrella man. Nobody else knew he was there. Nobody knew his secret. They thought he was dead. But he was alive enough to teach me how to be a rockhopper. And something else too.
What other people have said about this book
Broome’s prose is fluent, her characterisation deft and her purpose unobtrusively achieved. She enlightens without any flashy effects and yet at times she stops you with a shock of admiration and envy at her expressive facility with the English language. ‘He smelled time passing. Not hours, but moments streaked with sunlight and promises.’ Work of this quality is unlikely to be found in a series.
Stephen Matthews, Australian Book Review June 1994
Broome cleverly weaves several issues and layers of meaning into her plot, and expertly reconciles the tension created with a sense that life is there to be enjoyed.
Glyn Strange The Press, NZ, Nov 19, 1994
The author is also able to capture in well-chosen word and phrase, the seaside suburban background and has a distinctively credible way of developing characters.
A valuable book for ages 8 to 10 to read and discuss with classmates, teachers and parents as it raises many useful questions about the nature of friendship and codes of behaviour.
John D Adams, Reading Time, August 1994
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