Reviewed By Edith Wairimu for Readers’ Favorite
In the fascinating Kentucky Outback, Driew Qweepie’s world is filled with beauty, tranquility, and incredible ways of experiencing nature. Surrounded by his loyal mates, Cain, Able, and Gulia, Driew gets the opportunity to grow and discover his wild side. With incredible strength, agility, optimism, and charisma, Driew can withstand everything in his life, even the cruelty of Gayle and Payne, his older siblings, except for the heart-breaking condition of his mother, Nieve. The family tries to hold it together, especially Marq, Driew’s father, but even fortitude sometimes has limits. Amidst all the pain intertwined with beauty, Driew finds his voice and place. Remarkably, nature seems to listen to his voice too through his sing-song. G’DAY: Aints by M.W. Adams is a brilliant fusion of real life, amazing culture, and an incredible wild setting.
Every moment contained in G’DAY: Aints by M.W. Adams seems to be magical. The book is set in beautiful scenery which adds to the depth and uniqueness of the story. M.W. Adams does a great job presenting a story filled with simple yet breathtaking moments while still presenting Driew’s real-life situations. The youthful Driew is also very relatable and likable. With his kind, hardworking, and witty nature, he is a powerful key character. Overall, G’DAY: Aints by M.W. Adams is a rewarding and inspiring story. It helped me appreciate beauty and virtue even in the presence of distress. It is the kind of book that sticks with you long after you have read it. Reading it also helped me relive my youthful days and cherish the wonderful—even though simple—moments which surround me.
Reviewed By Melinda Hill for Readers’ Favorite
The youngest of five siblings, Driew feels like he doesn’t fit into his family in this coming of age story, G’DAY: Aints by Mark Wayne Adams. Now with his mother failing quickly from her Caddywompus, a brain tumor, Driew has lots of feelings and emotions to process while he deals with his sinister and bother (sister and brother) who resent him for being born and go out of their way to make his life difficult. Driew’s best friend is the girl next door, Gulia, who is from Australia. She shares her experiences with the Outback and native traditions, and Adams blends them with small-town life and Dawson Springs history and lore to help Driew find his path. As a result of some special powers, Driew has a connection to nature that is extraordinary; he can ‘sing song’ natural items to make them move or even provide him with light. This phenomenon, along with Driew’s ability to see the Magic Man, convinces Gulia that he needs to take off on a Walkabout, a traditional aboriginal quest to find oneself.
G’DAY: Aints comes directly from the soul of Mark Wayne Adams and connects us all through his characters into the greater world around us. The story represents a beautiful acceptance of life, family, things we can’t control, and, most of all, the ability each of us has within to come to terms with the ups and downs of life. While some characters take longer to evolve than others, just as in real life, the process is shown to be difficult yet fulfilling as Driew tries really hard to accept his siblings and other relatives for who they are—looking at things from their perspective. Beautifully written and well worth reading even more than once for its deep insights and loving advice, G’DAY: Aints works as a stand-alone story even though it is the fifth in the Family Tree series of novels by Mark Wayne Adams. Just like a song line from the Outback, you can pick it up here or there and still appreciate the unique gift within.
Reviewed By Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite
Set against the backdrop of Outback Australia, G’DAY: Aints by M.W. Adams takes readers along with Driew to explore life events and myriad chaotic journeys as he takes them through his story. Driew has secretly vowed to leave the Outback family and wants to heal his family relationships. His mother Nieve’s time is limited because the doctor cannot operate to remove the tumor resting upon her brain. Their home phone rang nonstop ever since Nieve collapsed in the town square. As the book progresses, readers get to see Driew’s progression from boyhood to manhood, and a move from Australia’s Outback to rural western Kentucky, an aint who helps him discover his past and find himself, and Gulia who encourages him to take control over his story and embrace the Magic Man’s purpose.
The story is adventurous and educational to a certain extent as it speaks about fun facts in the Outback and Dawson Springs, Kentucky. It is entertaining not only because of its story line, but also because of the interesting and informative facts the author has woven into it. The many layers in the plot make it a compelling read and readers are introduced to American, Australian, and Qweepie vernacular. Family bonding, the adventurous Outback world, and the Qweepie family moments make the book real and memorable to readers. The story line and the characters are fascinating and intriguing and a thread of humor runs through the plot and characters, making them tangible to readers. The story also stresses the importance of family, roots, and home, which sums up the daily lives of most readers.
Reviewed By Kathryn Bennett for Readers’ Favorite
G’DAY: Aints by Mark Wayne Adams introduces us to Driew and the adventures he finds himself in within the Australian outback. G’day might be the way to say hello in Australia, but for Driew it causes torment in the form of the Qweepie twins and oh so much more. When the girl next door gets involved, things become even more complex for Driew and, in the end, he must make the choice of exploring a love that is starting to blossom and going on a walkabout that traditionally leads a young man on a journey to become the man he was destined to be.
This book stood out to me as something that would be different and interesting to read when I looked at the description. I am happy to say I was right about that in many ways and, in other ways, it is a traditional coming of age story, making this book a great blend of familiar and unfamiliar. Once I got around some of the slang terms, I really got into the book and enjoyed the adventures. I have always been interested in the idea of a walkabout and the mysterious ways of the Aboriginal people of Australia. I feel that author Mark Wayne Adams has given us a peek inside of that mysterious world through the eyes of Driew in this book, and I love that! I don’t want to give away too much of the journey that Driew must take. Like so many of us, choosing between new love or a harder path that we aren’t sure where it will lead, this read is a solid, enjoyable one. It might be a YA story, but as an adult I enjoyed it and I know others will too. It is well written and has a flow to the story that is enjoyable. I didn’t like setting this one down to go and do adult things; I just wanted to read it straight through.
Reviewed By Liz Konkel for Readers’ Favorite
G’DAY: Aints by Mark Wayne Adams is a stunning coming of age journey following the life of Driew Qweepie. Driew’s life was fairly ordinary, dealing with bullies, siblings that don’t seem to want him around, and growing up. When his mom is diagnosed with a brain tumor, his life is flipped around and it seems like his siblings are keeping secrets from him. His best friends and his Tasmanian Tiger named Dingo are always there when he needs them. He finds solace in the woods and his tree house, using them to bask in the safety net of his childhood. His family doesn’t mention those they’ve lost. He’s never known the names of his grandparents or deceased relatives, but when he finds a family memoir he uncovers surprising family secrets. Gulia is his charming and brazen neighbor who convinces him to follow where the Magic Man leads, on a journey to find the Outback, an Australian song line. The more he learns about his family, the more he finds out about himself and discovers a connection to Gulia that he doesn’t expect.
The structure of G’DAY is an intriguing one that is broken into moments with every moment serving a purpose. Mark Wayne Adams delivers spectacular details with descriptions like “wrecking ball personality” and larger than life characters. Adams has a quirky style that gives a playful quality and a certain lightness to the story. G’DAY has many layers, a story of family, bullying, loss, growing up, friendship, and first love. Driew feels like an outsider with his siblings, but he finds comfort in the relationships he has with his friends and the bond he has with his Tasmanian Tiger. He also finds solace in the country, in books, and in words. He seems to find magic in every aspect of his life, which gives a beauty to Driew’s world.
Driew has a complicated relationship with his family as his siblings often seem to shield him from anything bad while also taking some of their pain out on him. His mother’s health slowly degrades throughout due to a brain tumor and this greatly affects the entire family. G’DAY puts a great deal of focus on childhood and the carefree magic that comes with it, referencing acclaimed novels The Outsiders, Where the Red Fern Grows, and Peter Pan. Driew finds himself captivated by the wonders of the woods, which is where the Magic Man and Australian lore ties into the story. The wonder of it all will pull you into his world. G’DAY is a truly breathtaking story with a unique style, quirky language that finds the magic in words, the memory of the past, and the struggle of life and death.
When promoting a literacy event, choose an author, illustrator, or book that offers educational resources beyond the book. These activities are usually FREE for educators and parents on the author or publisher website. To promote literacy week, use one suggestion daily from the list below.
Day 1—Writing Contest: Choose writing prompts that discuss informational text used by the author. Have students create interview questions, answer these questions from an author’s perspective, or research the historical timeline of the author’s career.
Day 2—Drawing Contest: Art activities fall within most educators requirements. It’s a fun way to illustrate a book page, create a character, or express words through art.
Day 3—Reading Points: AR reading points or a schools goals.
Day 4—Book Review: Writing book reviews introduces students to sharing their perstpective. Have them write a review of their book and have parents post the reviews on Amazon or GoodReads for their children. This activity focuses on reading, writing, and internet skills.
Day 5—Book Trailer: Use a smart phone, iPad, or digital device to create a book trailer of your classes’ favorite book. Animoto or similar programs.
Contest winners could win bookmarks, books, or lunch with the Author/Illustrator. Students could bring a lunch or the coordinator could host a lunch with the guest speaker. This is an opportunity for one-on-one questions and answers in a casual environment.
Reviewed By Ryan Jordan for Readers’ Favorite
DOWN UNDER: Kussins by M.W. Adams is the second book in the Family Tree Novel series and is a collection of moments, basically chapters centered around one particular scene in the life of Driew and his family, such as his brother Pester who calls Driew his little bother. Each scene stands alone, but together they make up the life of a young boy in Australia as he meets new people and learns about the world around him. This is a fictional reinterpretation of the life of the author with a lot of clever twists and fun moments that helped bring the stories and volume to life.
I liked the way in which each chapter could stand completely on its own, and the titling of each as ‘moments’ worked really well. Each was a moment in time unto itself, and the self-contained nature inside of the wider theme of the story did a lot to make it interesting. I think my favorite moment was “Hunter” because it had a little bit of everything. There is also a smattering of strange vernacular that I didn’t recognize, and I found the glossary to be tremendously helpful in learning new words or different uses of things I’ve seen before. I think that there is enough fun and educational information in this work to entertain any children, and even adults could easily find quite a few things to love about it. Down Under: Kussins by Mark Wayne Adams is a great story about discovering the world around us by looking at small snippets in time.
Reviewed By Ruffina Oserio for Readers’ Favorite
DOWN UNDER: Kussins by M.W. Adams is a family tree novel for young readers, a well-crafted work that reads like poetry, featuring very good and believable characters and a plot that will undoubtedly have readers turning the pages. The main character, Driew, is not an ordinary kid, and of course his parents think it is useless leaving him with a cellphone. From the very first page, readers are pulled into the world of the protagonist, a world that rhymes with a lot of tension and activities and danger. Very early in the story, the reader understands that Driew already has a huge problem dealing with his one sibling: “I don’t want to live another tortuous year as Pester’s little brother. Can’t Pester resolve his issues to become a loving brother?” The reader is pulled into the dynamics of family life and conflicts, but the adventure of Driew is what will take their breath away. Follow him down the hazardous path under.
The writing is like nothing I have read before, an original voice and a turn of phrase that has its unique signature. M.W. Adams has a bubbling imagination that comes out powerfully in the morphology of his writing, the cast of characters, and the compelling plot. The plot is fast-paced with a lot of drama and powerful scenes to pull the reader in. I read the entire story within twenty-four hours and enjoyed the plot lines, the characters, and the themes that center on the family. Down Under: Kussins is fun and entertaining.
The Rocket Ship Bed Trip describes a young boy’s dream about floating into outer space on his bed— an exciting fantasy that has got to appeal to young readers.
This beautifully illustrated book stimulates a child’s imagination with colorful depictions of meteors, asteroids, and the Milky Way. The simple language and rhyming text make it easy to understand and fun to read.
Subjects like gravity, galaxies, and nebulae are introduced, arousing the curiosity of young space enthusiasts. Actual photographs from space are included at the end of the book adding a learning opportunity to this captivating read-aloud book.
This book reinforces several concepts that are included in early primary school curricula, such as: observing big and small things in the sky; recognizing that there are many stars in the sky; and identifying information in pictures. By including educational resources with a delightful story, N. Jane Quackenbush has written an award-winning children’s book that both captivates and educates.
Jane R. Wood is the author of Schools: A Niche Market for Authors and an award-winning series of chapter books: Voices in St. Augustine, Adventures on Amelia Island, Trouble on the St. John’s River, Ghosts on the Coast, and Lost in Boston.
Teacher Resources for Jane’s Books
Pack your suitcase and grocery bag! Aileen Stewart, author of the Fern Valley book series, has a new book. Cooking in Fern Valley, A Collection of Stories and Recipes is her latest book filled with short stories about life and friendship on the Curlytail Farm.
Join in the disasters, dilemmas, and choices of the farm animal children’s daily adventures. Respect, love, and compassion describe the many friendships. The short chapters would make this a fun daily summer read.
The endearing relationships between the animal students and their teachers is perfect for classrooms! Students and teachers will enjoy the tasty mixture of math and science. From fractions to combining ingredients, the learning is equally as fun as Aileen’s stories.
These delicious Curlytail Farm adventures and recipes will fill your heart, mind, and tummy!
Mark Wayne Adams is an award-winning illustrator, author, and publisher of more than 40 children’s books. View Books and Awards
Website(s): www.markwayneadams.com, www.mwa.company