A touch of something magical, Samantha Waters
Dappled Annie and the Tigrish
June 08, 2021
Anyone who loves daring adventures should definitely read Dappled Annie and the Tigrish by Mary McCallum. Illustrated by Annie Hayward and published by Gecko Press, this heart-warming story has everything from talking hedges to flying tigers.
It begins one hot summer day with earthquakes occurring one after another, keeping everyone awake and alert. Our main character is a nine year old girl named Annie. Her dad works in a lighthouse and she barely ever gets to see him. Annie has a special connection with nature because she is dappled. This gift allows her to be able to talk to the wonders around her such as the hedges in the garden. One day Annie and her four year old brother, Robbie, are playing in the hedges when a wild wind frightens everybody and causes Mrs. Hedge to let go of the nest of fantails nestled in her branches.
The next time when Annie goes to see them there is nothing left except human-shaped gaps where Mr. and Mrs. Hedge should be. Quickly, Annie realises that they went off to find the fantails and she has to find the hedges before they get into trouble. As she is about to set off, a flying tiger called the Tigrish, which smells like liquorice, comes to her aid.
She named both of hands one was don’t go through the hedge because her mother has told her never to through the hedge in to the paddock on the other side. The other was loyalty to friends as her friends needed rescuing before they got in to trouble. She knew her friends were in grave danger but this is a rule that she knew if she broke terrible things would happen. She didn’t know what one to choose. What she did know was she had to pick one. She had to make her decision before it was too late.
This is an amazing story although I must admit I was not entirely hooked at the start. This was probably because the story took a while to get the interesting part and mainly just stayed on the same subject. Other than that, the story was fast moving and something was always happening so it never dragged on.
One other thing was how often the word ‘said’ occurred. It appeared almost every time a character spoke which made the story feel as if it didn’t flow as smoothly. I think Mary McCallum could have used some more interesting words. This would help with expressing the characters’ emotions, to make the reader me feel more connected to them.
Besides those complaints it is a great book as there is not a dull moment. The way it was written painted a clear picture as if I was right there watching it all happen. I have to agree that it is a beautifully written novel about nature, family, friends, bravery and a touch of something magical. I definitely recommend this book! It is probably best suited to a 6-13 age group but I encourage anyone and everyone to read it.
- Samantha Waters is 12 and lives in Christchurch.