Blueback by Tim Winton
Published by Penguin Books Australia
Down through the centuries the Jackson family had always earned their living from the sea, from the old days of whaling and fishing, to the modern times of abalone harvesting.
Ten year-old Abel Jackson’s father had been killed by a tiger shark when he was pearl-diving in Roebuck Bay, but Abel still loved to swim and dive in the ocean. Whilst diving in Robbers Head to harvest abalone, Abel and his mother befriend an enormous blue groper, who Abel names Blueback. Enthralled by the wonderful experience of interacting with this magnificent fish, Abel worries that Blueback will attract the attention of other divers, who may try to spear and kill him for sport.
When large shoals of sardines start being washed up, dead and dying, on the shore of Longboat Bay, Abel’s mother tells him that the sea is sick, but no one knows why. Abel realizes that he doesn’t understand the ocean or the creatures, like Blueback, that dwell in it. He decides to go to university to learn about the mysteries of the seas... but will his friend Blueback survive until he comes home again to Longboat Bay.
Tim Winton has created a gentle and uplifting environmental tale, reminiscent of Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, with imagery and lyrical content that enriches the imagination. Written primarily for children, but adults will also enjoy this beautiful little book, with its exquisite illustrations of sea flora and fauna by Allison Colpoys.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Tim Winton
Illustrator: Allison Colpoys
Publisher: Penguin Group