Author(s): Penny Reeve
Tania Abbey is just a regular girl from a regular Australian town - with one or two crazy ideas. She's also a peace-activist, environmental campaigner and follower of Jesus.Her latest idea? It's to be the only girl in her school to run a stall at the Water for the World march!Her parents certainly think it's crazy but Tania sets out to prove to them wrong. Water may be just an everyday thing to Tania and her friends but they soon realise how important it really is - especially to people like Shanti - an Indian girl they know. However, it's when Tania has a rather embarrassing toilet disaster that she realises just how essential water is! It's something that she just can't do without every day.Tania's plan for the march is coming along at full-speed - but then she begins to realise that there is something else that she needs every day. Do people see Jesus in her life as she goes about doing her day-to-day stuff? Come the day of the March, there are hundreds of people all thinking about the same issue, Water for the World - for most of us it's an everyday thing to turn on the tap - is it an everyday thing for Jesus to pour out of your life, though?Themes: Making a difference and Belonging to God.Why Tania Abbey?When Jesus spoke to the rich young man about the kingdom of heaven the young man boasted about his goodness. But Jesus wanted more than just goodness from that young man, and he wants more than just goodness from our kids. He wants their whole hearts, their whole lives, he wants them to 'give all they have to the poor' on account of himself. This is what the Tania Abbey books are about. They tackle the questions of: -What does faith, real life, practical faith look like when you are a kid? -How does my faith in Jesus impact on the values and priorities in my life?-Does 100% committed faith only belong to adults?-What does the Lord require of me, when I'm still in primary school?And specifically...-How does my faith in Jesus change how I respond to a world in need?Centred around themes of social justice, as the main character Tania's world view is expanded and challenged, these books give today's child readers the chance to encounter some of these questions and consider the answers and the impact of living completely as a child of a missional God.
This is an interesting, fun Australian story for juniors. Tania is challenged to be in the Water for the World march. She enlists her friends and their families in the project. Strategies appear to be going well until she realizes that the plan will not work without Jesus. The book is delightfully presented with many black and white illustrations, large print and bright cover. The story is short; I would have liked more episodes to have been developed in this particular adventure'. It is an excellent resource to involve discussion and action on social issues with 8-10 year olds in a Christian group or family. Australian Christian Libraries association newsletter These are two delightful Australian books (The Back Leg of a Goat and Water or Goo) following the efforts of 10 year old Tania Abbey as she seeks to make a difference in the world. Tania Abbey finds in her suburban life that she can bring about changes in lives of children in very different circumstances. While Tania struggles to come to terms with the loss of a best friend who has moved she reluctantly allows a new friend into her life who has just returned from living in India. Through the stories from India, Tania learns about a girl called Shanti who lives very differently from kids in Australia. In The Back Leg of a Goat Tania has been inspired by the "Gift Catalouge" and has been trying to save enough money to buy a goat but, as the title suggests, she only has enough money to buy it's back leg. So a great adventure begins as she and the other neighbourhood kids get together and set about the raise the rest of the money. Water or Goo develops Tania's story further as she is encouraged by her teacher to participate in the annual Water for the World march. Tania's parents, afraid that she is just interested in participating to impress the teacher, challenge Tania to think about what the march is really about. Again Tania and her friends come up with some creative ideas to raise awareness about the importance of clean drinking water. Through both these adventures Tania is reminded of things that Jesus said about serving him. In her author's note Penny Reeve says, "When I was nine or ten I remember being frustrated that although my parents could serve God, I couldn't because I was just a kid. But I learnt this isn't true." Penny skilfully raises issues of service in the world that is intrinsically part of a child's faith in a way that is accessible for children. These two junior novels are suitable for girls and boys between 7-10 years old and would make a lovely present. They would also be a good addition to Church and Christian School libraries. Miriam Bevis"