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Binny for Short by Hilary McKay
A calamity hit her family when Binny was eight - their father died. Now aged eleven, Binny’s family lives by the sea, in a house bequeathed to them by Mean Old Aunt Violet who was responsible for giving Binny’s dog away without explanation.
Binny knows she can’t get her dad back, but she never stops missing her dog Max, or trying to find him. Talking to her sister Clem, Binny tells how remembering Max hurts her heart as she hugs a cold ache in her stomach.
At her new home Binny's only friend is actually her enemy: her neighbor Gareth and it seems like Aunt Violet now departed, has returned as a ghost.
However, a change in luck brings new friends and discoveries and an amazing adventure and Gareth becomes her closest friend and a brilliant companion for dangerous dares.
McCay’s plot and characters in Binny for Short are as natural and believable as always. Binny’s brother, James will make you laugh with his strange behaviour, her sister Clem is a typical older teenager and the seaside town in the story is as familiar to the reader as if he or she lived there.
Binny for Short is an ideal read with a happy ending for senior classes in primary schools.
“McKay is particularly effective at evoking the
freedom and utter joy of slobbering around with buckets, capturing slugs,
swimming in the beach daily.You can almost smell the waist-high grasses,
brambles and nettles in the benignly neglected garden stomped underfoot.
There’s not a single structured activity or summer camp in sight
and the children have never been happier.”