Three Scoops, David Hill, One Tree House, 2021
David Hill is a writing whizz and has penned some of my all-time favourite Aotearoa fiction for children. His new book Three Scoops is genius. He has written three long SHORT stories. One is historical, one is fantasy and one is science fiction. I gobbled them all up at the weekend.
One Tree House page
A history story (‘Coming Home’): Harry and his horse Blaze are inseparable. He and Blaze are heading to South Africa in 1890 by ship to fight in the Boer war. Harry thinks it is a great adventure and has no idea about the harsh realities of war. Blaze has no idea what is going on and runs away before boarding the ship. The two stories interweave. Lost and confused, Blaze is trying to find his way home. Harry is discovering war has much graver consequences than those of an adventure. He misses and is worried about Blaze. He misses home. Men and horses go hungry, get wounded, die. On both sides. So many complicated questions simmer as I read.
A fantasy story (‘I wish’): Trent and his mum move to a new town which means a new school and new friends. Only problem is Trent finds life boring and thinks he is boring. Until he finds a mysterious box of books in the lounge. Open one of the books changes everything. What I love about this story, is the way it is real life gritty while also letting a bit magic in. Stories can have so many layers whatever the genre. Read this one and you will find David’s characteristic wit, humour and wisdom as well as the bounding imagination. What sells it for me, is the way the story digs into things that shape and challenge us. How sometimes you feel awkward and not good enough. How sometimes you have to choose between helping yourself out and helping someone else out.
A science fiction story (‘Strange Meeting’): David reminds us of how the world was 70 million years ago, and what happened when an asteroid hit Earth and wiped the dinosaurs out. Cut to a time in the future. Sophie’s parents work at the Mahoe Launch Site where a rocket/satellite is about to take off. Sophie is about to give a talk to her classmates when Pita interrupts because he is worried something bad is about to happen. His wise Koro communicates with a power and understands the preciousness of the land. The story navigates science, and what-ifs, and how our relationships with other people and with the land (Earth!) are so very important. Is the space work good for Earth or will it place it in danger? The story is tense, yet is layered beyond a fast moving plot. Again questions simmer as you read.
Three deliciously complex stories that are compulsive reading because you can’t wait to find out what happens – but also deliver vital questions for you to ponder over. AND that get you thinking about what it means to be a human being on planet Earth. Wonderful!
David Hill lives in Taranaki, and has been writing fiction and nonfiction full time for 40 years. His novels and stories have won numerous awards, and have been published in around 15 countries and nearly as many languages.
The popUPpoem challenges
A history poem: Find a person in the past and use them as a starting point for your poem. You could use someone you know (an older relation) or someone you don’t know from the past. Before you start your poem write down a few questions you would ask them if you could, or will ask them if you can. See if you can find out some fascinating things about them.
A fantasy poem: Take a box of books as your starting point and let your imagination go flying. Is there a question your poem explores? Without saying the question out loud. Over to you: this is also a chance simply to enjoy a dose of fantasy (imagination) as you write.
A science fiction: Set your poem in the future where the world is a little bit different than it is now. What is good and bad about how it is different?
Deadline: Friday October 1st
Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
INCLUDE: your name, age, year and name of school
Don’t forget to put Three Scoop poem in subject line so I don’t miss your email.
I will read all the poems the day after the deadline and will post some poems on OCT 5th. I will have a copy of Three Scoops to give away and maybe another book or two.