MMGM/ DOWN UNDER CALLING by Margot Finke, a Review

Hi Friends,

Last week we were treated to Margot Finke’s guest post on how to start our stories off with a BANG! And today I am reviewing her latest book, DOWN UNDER CALLING.

As you can see I am posting on Monday and not on my  regular day, Tuesday. That is because I want to present you with…Ta da!

A Marvelous Middle Grade author today on Monday! Margot Finke has written a marvelous middle grade novel that I want to feature today on MMGM. Let me explain.  Shannon Whitney Messenger decided it was time to give middle grade stories the attention they deserve, and as you guessed  “Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays” was born. Or the abbreviation MMGM.

Some of Margot 's books

Some of Margot ‘s books

In this great middle grade wonder, DOWN UNDER CALLING won my heart when Grandma Rose began a stories series in her letter writing, starting with how chickens became food. In the true to life story the chicks had stopped laying and were butchered with an axe and dipped in boiling water to make the feathers come off easier. This sounds a little gruesome but I know this method. It is a story from own past life when we were raising our sons and chickens at the same time.

Margot Fink tells these tales with a lot of imagination and zest. Using words like chuckle when she’s talking about chickens to make me think of cluck.

Her book is divided into chapters with each of the main characters represented by a different chapter. Grandma Rose is one and her grandson Andy is another while within the chapters are their letters to each other. Grandma’s chapters are full of her life in real-time Australia while she writes her letters with her childhood stories to Andy.

This book had me glued to my seat. I think it is one of  Finke’s best yet. I loved reading about both Grandma’s and Andy’s lives. Andy’s Dad had been recently down sized and Andy was adjusting to life in a small apartment and no more money for music or video games when he makes friends with a neighbor girl. The book covers issues of downsizing, divorce and greater themes of togetherness, family and love.

As a benefit while reading, I was treated to information about Joeys, Frill neck lizards and other interesting tid bits of Australian life in the down under.

I found I had a lot in common with Grandma and have a feeling this was autobiographical for the author.

I highly recommend this to any middle grader and to the boomer generation who might be longing to reflect on their own life on the farm.

Here is Margot Finke’s bio

 

Margot's Finke's author photo

Margot’s Finke’s author photo

Margot Finke is an Aussie transplant, now living in Oregon with her husband and family. She has 13 published books (PB to young teen), and runs a well known Manuscript Critique Service. She also offers FREE Skype Author Visits to schools and book clubs.

*HOOK Kids on Reading: http://hookkidsonreading.blogspot.com/
*Website: http://www.margotfinke.com
*Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/bg9dtxt
**Autographed books come with her FREE “Fairdinkum Aussie Recipe Book” – tucker Margot loved to eat as an Aussie kid.

*FREE “Sneak Peek” inside all her books: http://tinyurl.com/9npjy9n
*SKYPE Author Visits (schools etc) : www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-LLo_eWdxk

Take care good friends. I’ll see you here on Friday for a review on my selection for PPBF or Perfect Picture Book Friday. In the meantime, have a great week!

(c) 2014 Clara Bowman-Jahn aka Clarike Bowman-Jahn

 

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About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
This entry was posted in blogging, Clara Bowman-Jahn, Clarike Bowman-Jahn, Course or Book Review, social networking, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to MMGM/ DOWN UNDER CALLING by Margot Finke, a Review

  1. msyingling says:

    I couldn’t find this at Follett? By whom is it published?

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  2. I love the way you closed — that this book appeals to young readers and older ones. Not enough people realize this about MG!

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  3. Sounds great and what an interesting premise, especially for those living in the asphalt world of a big city. I’ll be recommending this one.

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  4. Margot Finke says:

    Thank you do much Clar, for reviewing my book and featuring it on your MMHM. I can begin breathing again, now that I know you really liked Down Under Calling. WHEW!!! You are right, the characters are all fictional, but the stories Grandma Rose tells about her life as a child growing up Down Under are true. They were either experienced by me, or told to me by my dear mom. She was a great storyteller, and as a child I loved to hear the tales she told about HER childhood. I loved writing this one. It simply flowed out of me, as if Mum were there at my shoulder, occasionally nodding approval, or offering the occasional, “No, it was not like that. . .!” as I wrote. Thanks Mum.

    One of the tricky things was to remember the Aussie spelling when Down Under, and the US spelling when in Oregon – like Mum/Mom.

    Books for Kids – Skype Author Visits
    http://www.margotfinke.com

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  5. Margot Finke says:

    In answer to msyingling:
    This is my second self-published book. It is available through Amazon ( http://tinyurl.com/bg9dtxt ) and my website. If you are looking for bulk purchase prices please email me: mfinke at frontier.com. And there is a SURPRISE GIFT for those who buy DIRECT from me: My “Fairdinkum Aussie Recipe Book” (favorite tucker I ate as a child in Australia), + a $2 discount and an autograph.

    Bringing two generations together across an ocean was such fun. I just hope people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. And Clar’s awesome review just put the icing on my Down Under cake!! 🙂

    Books for Kids – Skype Author Visits
    http://www.margotfinke.com

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  6. jannatwrites says:

    I always think it’s fascinating to read books set in a geographic area I’ve never been too (like Australia!)

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    • clarbojahn says:

      HI Janna!

      I agree, reading books of other places stretches my mind. I almost like it better than sci fi and other worlds. Reading about places here in our world through history books or biographies and memoir is so exciting. I Just love it. 🙂

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  7. This one does sound interesting.I hope to get to it soon. By the way, your blog was listed twice on Shannon’s MMGM blog, but the link didn’t work on either one for me. Fortunately, I am a subscriber, so got here anyway.

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  8. Margot Finke says:

    Thank you Rosi and Janna. When I look at my aray of books I see many that are Aussie themed – from Aussie animal picture books to boy’s adventures and gentle tales of family life. I guess you can take the girl out of Australia, but you can’t take Australia out of the girl. YEA AUSSIES!!!

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  9. Darlene says:

    AS you know, I love books about other countries and this one looks like a gem. Thanks for bringing it to our attention Clar.

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Darlene!

      Margot Finke often writes with a Down Under theme. I’ve reviewed some of her other books here on my blog. Search under Margot Finke and you will discover several of them as well as an author interview. I am so glad I introduced her to you. 🙂

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  10. This sounds great! i like the idea of letters becoming stories – they just do! I’ll be looking for this one. Thanks!

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Rhythm,

      I hope you like it as much as I did. I think it’s one of Margot’s best yet. I didn’t know you liked middle grade as well as picture books. I guess the kids read everything to you. I envy your job right about now. I can’t find enough time to read. 🙂

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      • The problem with those middle graders is that I don’t ever get the whole story! They just read me parts and I have to imagine the rest! But sometimes, the Mom Person will finish a book for me. She’s good that way!

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  11. Margot Finke says:

    readingwithrhyths, thanks for your comments. Not sure I get what you mean about the Mom person, etc. Can’t you finish a mid-grade yourself? Guess I am missing an important fact here!! 🙂 When I was a teacher’s aide, and read to the class from James and the Giant Peach, I brought the book home with me so I could find out what happened, without having to waiting for the next day’s reading session. I loved that story and so did the class.

    Books for Kids – Skype Author Visits
    http://www.margotfinke.com

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  12. I like Ms. Finke’s writing style (I just re-read Horatio Humble Beats the Big D over the weekend! 🙂 )- I’ll check this one out!

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    • Margot Finke says:

      Aha, thiskidreviewsbooks, you now have me as a fan forever!!! 🙂 Thank you. But Horatio Humble is a PB, and Down Under is a mid-grade or young teen. If I remember correctly, you won a copy of my Taconi and Claude- Double Trouble (MG) a few years back. A coming of age tale about a young aboriginal boy in the Aussie outback. I wrote that and it’s follow-up, Trial by Walkabout, for boys and tomboys. I hope you enjoyed it.

      Books for Kids – Skype Author Visits
      http://www.margotfinke.com

      Like

    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Erik!

      I hope you like it as well as I did. It is one of my favorites from Margot. 🙂

      Like

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