Lucy Bee & Soline
This novel is the third in the Lucy Bee series but is a complete story in its own right. Soline is a French student staying with Lucy Bee's family on the Kapiti Coast. One day, Soline receives a phone call from home with devastating news: the family chateau may have to be sold. Soline is understandably upset as it has been in her family for generations. As Soline opens up to Lucy Bee, they make comparisons between the importance of land and heritage in France and Maori land issues in Aotearoa. The girls read about Patricia Grace's battle with Waka Kotahi to keep family land. Anne Ingram tells the story in alternating chapters from each girl's perspective. The supportive friendship between them is a delight. The front cover sums up the novel beautifully. A chateau with grape vines is juxtaposed with a marae, native NZ birds and plants. Although France and Aotearoa are poles apart geographically and culturally, the author shows commonality through the importance of land, heritage and taonga. This book would appeal to ages 12-15. Recommended.
NOVA GIBSON, READNZ TE POU MURAMURA
Discovery is at the heart of this enjoyable tale of two young girls from the opposite ends of the earth: discovery of self, friendship, interests, history, and ultimately a hidden treasure. Lucy and Soline become friends as Lucy shows Soline around her town. It is here that the story takes off. Lucy, to her embarrassment, realises how little she knows of her own country's history. Something Soline calls her out on: Soline turned to me. 'I think that you people do not value your history. What the people have done before you, good and bad, they make you who you are.' The story explores turangawaewae, and the importance of treasuring and protecting where you come from, both in the NZ setting and in Soline's part of the world. Soline and her sister are determined to ensure their chateau is not lost and see themselves as guardians of the estate, to hold and care for it in the future. For Lucy, the visit (to France) awakens her interest in history, another part of exploring and understanding who you are and where you belong. She is fascinated to discover Soline's mother is a conservator who specialises in restoring textiles and this helps Lucy determine her own future. As a history nerd, I loved seeing Lucy enthralled by the chateau's tapestries and wanting to learn more about Aotearoa's history. I truly hope she follows her dream to study history.
VANESSA HATLEY-OWEN, KIDSBOOKSNZ
Lucy Bee & Soline is the first book in this series I've read and, in what is a major plus for any voracious reader, I didn't feel lost as the novel is easily self-contained. It's clear that Ingram is passionate about telling Lucy's story and providing her readers with an understanding of the small concerns of teenagehood - small concerns that nevertheless have a huge impact on a young life. This novel deals with the meaning of home and turangawaewae, the burden and excitement of history and heritage, the fear of change and the future, and the importance of family. Both teens are interested in history but from very different perspectives. Ingram uses her journalism background to effect as the kids investigate their different concerns. From Patricia Grace's battle with Waka Kotahi to an understanding of the Greek Muses, Lucy and Soline join forces to uncover an old mystery, save the chateau and decide future careers.
CERIDWYN ROBERTS, THE SAPLING
The two girls' stories intertwine as they discover the past holds secrets and how important heritage is in making you who you are. Told from both girls' points of view, the pair grow and explore together. Each character is likeable and charming in their own way. I loved how the author wove in turangawaewae and the importance of treasuring and protecting where you come from. I'd have loved to have had more New Zealand included in the story - Ingram's weaving of Patricia Grace's situation into the story hopefully sparks a desire in readers to seek out more. Lucy Bee & Soline is a charming read that highlights the importance of family, the meaning of home, and the power of heritage and history.
REBEKAH LYELL, NZ BOOKLOVERS
Bonjour Lucy Bee
Fancy a quick trip to France? All you need is a cuppa, a comfy place to read, and this great book from Anne Ingram. Allons-y! French phrases throughout coupled with the descriptive scene setting has you feeling you are right there with Lucy. The plight of the refugees is handled well; there is no lecturing, instead we are shown the human face of this global issue. There is plenty of action and a good resolution ties up everything up at the end. A thoroughly good read - Bonjour Lucy Bee will make you want to pack your bags for your own French adventure.
VANESSA HADLEY-OWEN, KIDSBOOKSNZ.BLOGSPOT.COM
Anne Ingram packs so much into this story. The byline on the front cover: "Just what is going on in this little French village?" hints at the mystery woven into the plot. Artworks have been stolen and it seems easy to blame the refugees. There are lovely depictions of French culture, with some French history thrown in. For children aged 9-14 who enjoy mystery, travel or stories about family and relationships, I'd recommend this book.
NOVA GIBSON, LIBRARY MANAGER MASSEY PRIMARY SCHOOL (READ NZ)
Life is an adventure with lots of new things to see and do, but Lucy becomes aware of the plight of the refugees who are seeking safety in France. The way this is written genuinely asks the Year 6 reader what they would do in a similar situation. This is an easy accessible read and I appreciated the broaching of what is a most pertinent subject in an effectively tender way. There is nothing overtly political in this book; only the truth about human relationships, identity and empathy.
MELISSA SPARK, MAGPIES MAGAZINE
I can already think of a few French-New Zealand families I'll be recommending this family-oriented story to. Author Anne Ingram captures well the bewilderment we all feel when we find ourselves in an unfamiliar place. And she wastes no time in plunging Lucy into an adventure. Ingram has skilfully presented the emotions of a morally engaged girl confronted with unfamiliar cultural values ... a very well written narrative focusing on the ability of children to see a moral surety where adults so often cannot. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys well written family stories. Deep-thinking pre-teens in particular will enjoy it. Recommended for ages 9+ SARAH FORSTER, THE SAPLING
The story cracks along at a fast pace, with plenty of action, intrigue and mystery to keep readers turning the page. Author Anne Ingram has created a cast of wonderful dynamic characters. Lucy is strong, compassionate and full of empathy. She takes on challenges and isn't afraid to push boundaries or stand up for what she believes in. Each of her cousins have their own backgrounds and emotions, opinions and thoughts. Suitable for upper primary school students it will spark deeper thinking and offers space for reflection for these children. Bonjour Lucy Bee is a considerate and considered story about an important topic.
This is a rich intelligent book designed to capture a young reader's imagination through an interplay of many different themes held together by a pacey adventure story. The storyline: a very special summer holiday into which is woven a contemporary conundrum that challenges Lucy's innate New Zealand sense of justice and fair play. Young readers will be hoping at every turn of the page that she makes the right choices. The array of characters is delightful - all ages, three nationalities, various temperaments all tested by changing circumstances. ANN DAVID, GOODREADS
Lucy Bee & the Secret Gene
I really enjoyed this book. It is about a young girl called Lucy Bee. Lucy was quite a girl who got bullied because of her fuzzy hair. She began to wonder if she was adopted because she looks different from the rest of her family. The story followed her as she digs up her family history. The story kept me guessing until the end. I can't wait for Anne's next book.
EVIE PETERS, aged 11 years, KAPANUI SCHOOL
On the way home from school. Lucy is bullied by an older boy and called a fuzzy-haired freak. She thinks: "Where did I get my fuzzy hair from?" She decides she looks nothing like her parents and has either been adopted or swapped at birth. Psychologists tell us many children have such thoughts. A fascinating story that also highlights childhood friends, vandalism and bullying.
BOB DOHERTY, DOMINION POST
Lucy Bee's bete noir is Neil, whose name-calling about her frizzy hair sets the 'Freakgirl' looking for evidence that she's adopted. Mindful that the boy's black eye hints at his own victimhood, Lucy researches her DNA under the guise of a school science project. A satisfying story of friendship and family.
ANN PACKER, NEW ZEALAND LISTENER
This is a delightful story of the small dramas children have in their lives - nagging doubts about identity, loyalty, the shifting nature of friendship - which seem to underpin most dramas at primary school. Lucy Bee explores these and resolves them. Anne Ingram knows, understands how to write for children.
JOHN MACINTYRE, NATIONAL RADIO
I really enjoyed this book. It's beautifully written. It's funny. I loved it. And what I really liked was that it looked at bullying from both sides.
PAM COLEMAN, YOUTH SERVICES COORDINATOR FOR KAPITI LIBRARIES.
Like many children. Lucy Bennett suddenly has a terrible moment of doubt. Are her parents really her parents? Lucy decides to track her genes and the quest keeps the reader guessing until the last pages. This is one of those stories you simply do not want to put down.
BARBARA MURISON, AROUND THE BOOKSHOPS
I have just read an awesome book that is just right to encourage kids into family history. Lucy has frizzy hair but no one else in her family does. The Science Fair is coming up and Lucy needs to find a project. Voila: let's look at family characteristics and see who in the wider family shares them. It's a good read and will get the kids thinking about how all this genes and DNA stuff works.
NEW ZEALAND SOCIETY OF OF GENEALOGISTS
Anne Ingram handles Lucy's story with great skill and a light touch. You will want to know where that hair came from.
RENE NOL, OTAGO DAILY TIMES
An exciting story about piracy and kidnapping in Borneo. Ben had speculated about pirates, but finds the reality rather more frightening than his rather glamorised imaginings. He also develops a friendship with Mahmood, a Malay villager whose life and aspirations are very different from his own.
Anne Ingram...writes with a classic adventure style and with tight descriptive passages which bring Malaysia into the imagination with ease. A great read for ages 11+ and in an attractively presented book.
In our class we read your book Sea Robbers. I really enjoyed the story. It had a lot of action in it. My favourite character was Kassim.
ROCHELLE REES, MANNING INTERMEDIATE
Pirates in an exotic foreign land...isn't that what all boys dream about? New Zealand teenager Ben certainly thought a family holiday in Malaysia would be made all the more interesting by an encounter with some. Young imaginative minds will enjoy this adventurous tale.
BAY OF PLENTY TIMES
Anne Ingram's first novel aimed at teenagers and she does a ripping job. At 86 pages, she manages to pack a lot of action into the tale, interspersed with an obvious knowledge of the country she writes about.
This is a neat book for teenagers - a gripping story that embraces the Malaysian and New Zealand cultures.
This book will appeal to less motivated readers as it looks short but offers a good storyline with rounded characters they will relate to easily. It also has a great cover which will make it attractive.
NEW AND NOTABLE