Great Aussie Bites For Girls The Sugar-gum Tree by Patricia Wrightson
Published by Penguin Books Australia
Sarah Bell and Penny May were best friends. And just like best friends, they fought a lot, but afterwards they were always friends again.
Each one is as stubborn as the other and as a result, another little squabble breaks out over their make-shift cubby house. Sarah calls Penny a “Gloop” and Penny retreats up the sugar-gum tree. Sarah stands her ground, refusing to apologise and Penny stands her ground, refusing to come down until Sarah says sorry.
Sarah eventually gives up and goes into the house. Her mum questions her as to where Penny is, and Sarah casually mentions Penny is in the tree. Mrs Bell gets in quite a flap as the sugar-plum tree is very old and quite unsafe. Mrs Bell however, is unable to coax her daughters young friend out of the tree, and as time ticks on, Penny eventually becomes so scared that she is unable to climb down.
Mrs Bell and Mrs May eventually arrive and it is decided that the only solution is to call the fire brigade.
At this stage the two girls haven’t made up, and unfortunately not even the fireman is able to coax Penny out of the tree.
Everyone gets in quite a flap, retreating to the house, until Sarah sneaks out and coaxes her best friend out of the tree. They climb through the window back into Sarah’s room and don their pyjamas and jump into bead. All the adults eventually realise that the two children are again missing, and they soon find them fast asleep in Sarah’s bed.
Penny ends up staying the night and the next day, she makes her way home to her house across the street. Just as Penny is out of earshot, the cheeky Sarah calls her best friend a “Gloop” again. We don’t find out if the rivalry starts all over again, but I can just imagine how the stubborn Penny would react.
This was a sweet, slice of life story, with two stubborn but endearing little girls, who are journeying together on the rocky pathway of life. Will the two every work it out, only the author knows, but I think young girls aged 5-7 will enjoy reading about these two very relatable characters. The illustrations really helped to depict the emotions that each of the characters were feeling, which I think is so necessary to help teach children about the nuances of human behaviour.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Patricia Wrightson
Illustrator: David Cox
Title: Great Aussie Bites For Girls The Sugar-gum Tree
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Published: January 2014