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Shower Land 1: Break the Curse

By Nat Amoore. Illustrated by James Hart.

Reviewed by Helen Gearing

Since somersaulting onto the kidlit scene in 2019 with her award-winning middle-grade novel, Secrets of a Schoolyard Millionaire, Nat Amoore has become one of Australia’s most beloved children’s authors. With her creative background spanning video editing, podcast creation, script writing, trapeze performance, and acting, it’s unsurprising that Amoore’s author talks are something special, with gleeful reenactments in school playgrounds across the country (and overseas).
Meanwhile James Hart, an award-winning illustrator of dozens of children’s books (including the CBCA-notable Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables) has brought his talent for characterisation to the fore in Amoore’s latest novel, Shower Land: Break the Curse, creating an exciting visual world for readers seven years and older – full of action, laughter, and plenty of heart.
“But it was probably more important that Felix focussed on clothing himself than admiring the architecture, so he tiptoed past a small chicken coop and over to the clothes line.”
When 10 year old Felix steps into the bathroom, desperate to avoid his little brother’s millionth not-funny joke, ‘Olly [is] like the ads you can’t skip on Youtube, there [is] no escaping him,’ his shower becomes a portal and sends him to a medieval land where warring armies, corn-gobbling dragons, bossy new friends, and a hefty dose of culture shock will be the least of his worries; he first needs to find some clothes and figure out a plan to get home!
At every turn, Shower Land keeps the pace moving and the laughs coming while sensitively exploring themes of sibling dynamics, cultural difference, and ableism. And Amoore’s craftsmanship shines on every page, with a lot packed into this beautifully-told story despite the word-count restraints of a junior fiction novel.
James Hart’s illustrations have a joyful, cartoonish quality and wonderfully express Felix’s emotional landscape as he navigates the rollercoaster of medieval life on his quest to return to his dad and little brother. And although Shower Land is less heavily illustrated than other recent junior fiction series (e.g. Aaron Blabey’s Bad Guys or Matt Stanton’s Funny Kid), Hart’s images, combined with excellent internal design  will support newly independent readers as well as delight those already firmly established in their reading journey.
The next two novels in the Shower Land series, ‘Feel the Freeze’ and ‘Walk the Plank’, will be released later this year.

Puffin 2024

Nat Amoore

1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

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