A heart-warming tale with an environmental message, Madison Busing
March 10, 2022
Have you ever wanted to go elsewhere? Well, Bo Bimble did in Sue Copsey’s story When Bo Bimble Went Elsewhere.
This story is about a bird called Bo who wants answers to her never ending questions. This quest takes her on a journey around New Zealand. On the way, Bo meets Bernie (a young Scottish boy with an interest in birds). Together they discover the answers to Bo’s questions and realise that things aren’t always as bad as they seem.
I enjoyed how the story was based in New Zealand but didn’t rely on clichés like some other New Zealand books and shows. We meet Bo living in Bimble Sound, which is the area we call Milford Sound. Bimble Sound is a protected bird reserve where we learn about tui, kea, kiwi, tomtit and tuatara.
A place where ‘’only birdsong and the wind in the trees disturb its peace.” Bernie describes New Zealand as being quite a lot like Scotland: there are mountains and lakes, and places beginning with Glen and Ben, and the people say “wee” when they mean something’s small. And just like in Scotland, you can drive for miles without seeing another car. These descriptions capture the reader’s attention and describe this country in an interesting way.
I also love the characters! Before they meet, the story alternates between each character’s perspective. I didn’t relate to Bo much because she is learning about a lot of new things that I already know and have seen, such as where the sun goes, and why you can see the moon in the day.
However, I could relate to Bernie as he travels New Zealand and experiences a lot of things I have done, like visiting the luge and gondola in Queenstown. I could also relate to how he reacts to some of these things and has the same thoughts that I sometimes have now. For example, he thinks it was strange to call a bunch of people Kiwis as that is the same name as a bird.
It is really clever how Sue Copsey weaves the theme of conservation into the story. The main character is a Bimble – which is a fictional endangered species. Bo describes how the kea have been spreading rumours of an enormous fence rising up the mountains and Elsewhere. They’re calling it a predator fence. Bo questions why it has this name, and this could prompt the reader to find their own answers. They discuss endangered creatures and why they are endangered: ‘Because the creatures of the night killed their babies… And people chopped down their forests…They want the land for their farms, and they use wood to build their houses. The story could encourage Kiwi kids to help our native wildlife.
Overall, this story is a fun, easy read with references to New Zealand that a Kiwi could relate to (although you don’t have to be a New Zealander to enjoy it). The characters are heart-warming, and it has a wonderful conservation message. I would recommend it to primary school aged readers.
- Madison is 12 and lives in Wellington.