Thank you to Aus YA Bloggers and Dion Summergreene for the opportunity to read Dion’s debut middle-grade adventure novel, Buckley’s Unexpected Adventure! The cover for this book drew me in and the synopsis sold me.
But what did I think of the book?
Keep reading to find out!
Author: Dion Summergreene
Age Classification: Middle Grade
Publisher: Dion Summergreene
Release: April 12, 2019
Do not let the absolutely adorable cover fool you; This story focuses on illegal animal trade and animal welfare in a kid-friendly format.
Buckley is a kind-hearted and loyal sniffer dog at the Gold Coast Airport in Queensland, Australia. He and his human handler, Adam, discover an illegal shipment of chameleons. All but one chameleon, Ciara, and two turtle eggs did not survive the terrible journey, so Buckly makes it his mission to reunite Ciara with her family and uncover who was behind the animal smuggling. With Buckley’s mouse best friend, Bo, the animals start on an unplanned adventure
Because of the location, readers get the joy of Australianisms and nods to the country. Some of my favourites include:
- the use of the word ‘mate’;
- “You’ll be in and out in two shakes of a lamb’s tail”
- fairy bread
- and a good old “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! … Oi! Oi! Oi!”
Besides appealing to my love of animals and my Aussie pride, this book also displayed friendship, honesty, and overcoming fear and insecurities. It was heartwarming and heartbreaking reading all the different emotions Buckley experienced both leading up to and during his unexpected adventure.
This story was mostly well written for the intended audience. The story is mostly fast-paced, which is what you want for 8 to 12-year-old readers, and the language used is appropriate for that age group to enjoy but also understand the meaning of the story. It is quite clear that animals should be looked after and that smuggling them is illegal for very good reasons, including the spread of diseases and the welfare of the animals.
The only negative for me was not necessarily the book’s fault. As many of you will know, I love middle-grade novels because they are fun and focus more on friendship, doing what is right and discovering amazing things about themselves and the world around them. However, this book was definitely written for kids and, being an adult-of-sorts (though still a kid at heart), I felt that I was reading this book about fifteen years too late.
Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
I decided to rate this book as if I were still my 8-year-old self who would have been in love with the book because it is not the book’s fault I aged. From an adult perspective, if you do enjoy a middle-grade read, this is maybe a 3.5 or 4-star read. However, for the 8 to 12-year-olds that will enjoy a 226-page novel, I would definitely recommend giving Buckley’s Unexpected Adventure a go!
Want to check out more reviews?
You are in luck!
And if you still want to know more about the book and the author, Dion Summergreene, you can check out the website here!
Until next time bibliophiles!