Ruth Starke

Ruth Starke

Dr Ruth Starke holds Academic Status at Flinders University where she is the Editor, Creative Writing, for Transnational Literature. She has published over twenty-five books for young readers; her latest title is My Gallipoli (with Robert Hannaford), Working Title 2015.

Ruth Starke reviews 'Stories, Pictures and Reality: Two children tell' by Virginia Lowe

October 2007, no. 295 01 October 2007
Ruth Starke reviews 'Stories, Pictures and Reality: Two children tell' by Virginia Lowe
Virginia Lowe has carved an academic career in the area of ‘childist criticism’ based on the responses of very young children (particularly her own) to books. Shortly after their daughter, Rebecca, was born in 1971, the Lowes began to read to her. Virginia recorded the process in a daily journal. Three years later, when their son, Ralph, was born, she recorded his reactions as well, and contin ... (read more)

Ruth Starke reviews 'Stillwater Creek' by Alison Booth

March 2010, no. 319 01 March 2010
Ruth Starke reviews 'Stillwater Creek' by Alison Booth
The sticker on the cover assured me that if I had enjoyed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society I would ‘love’ Stillwater Creek. Had I been browsing the bookshop shelves, this would have been fair warning not to part with my money. Myriad readers obviously did love Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’s international bestseller. Alexander McCall Smith certainly did: he chaired the ... (read more)

Ruth Starke reviews 'Family Business' by Sophie Masson and 'The Rented House' by Phil Cummings

April 2000, no. 219 01 April 2000
Ruth Starke reviews 'Family Business' by Sophie Masson and 'The Rented House' by Phil Cummings
When she sat down in that Edinburgh café almost three years ago to write Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling apparently determined that it would take a further six books to tell the complete story of her pubescent wizard. Millions of entranced and thoroughly hooked readers around the world are now breathlessly awaiting volume four. The books are immensely readable with a stro ... (read more)

Ruth Starke reviews 'Rain May and Captain Daniel' by Catherine Bateson and 'Too Flash' by Melissa Lucashenko

April 2003, no. 250 01 April 2003
Ruth Starke reviews 'Rain May and Captain Daniel' by Catherine Bateson and 'Too Flash' by Melissa Lucashenko
In the list of life’s most stressful events, family breakups and moving home are way up there in the top ten, and one often follows the other, compounding the trauma. This is the situation for eleven-year-old Rain in Catherine Bateson’s Rain May and Captain Daniel, when her mother, Maggie, sells their inner-city house in the aftermath of divorce. They head for the country to turn Grandma’s d ... (read more)

Ruth Starke reviews 'The Midnight Zoo' by Sonya Hartnett and 'The Red Wind' by Isobelle Carmody

September 2010, no. 324 01 September 2010
Ruth Starke reviews 'The Midnight Zoo' by Sonya Hartnett and 'The Red Wind' by Isobelle Carmody
I had fun imagining Sonya Hartnett and Isobelle Carmody indulging in a little pre-publication chit-chat: IC: What are you working on now, Sonya?SH: A children’s story about two orphaned brothers battling for survival in a world turned upside down; talking animals; themes of freedom and loss. What about you?IC: A children’s story about two orphaned brothers struggling for survival in a world s ... (read more)

Ruth Starke reviews four recent Young Adult novels

June–July 2016, no. 382 25 May 2016
Summer Skin (Allen & Unwin, $19.99 pb, 347 pp, 978192526-6924) by Kirsty Eagar, a raunchy romance for older readers, is set in the halls of residence of a Queensland university during O-Week. Jess Gordon – nickname Flash – has devised a little game for the freshers, a payback for what her friend Farren endured the previous year when she was secretly filmed and Skyped having sex with a boy ... (read more)

Ruth Starke reviews 'Pieces of Sky' by Trinity Doyle, 'The Pause' by John Larkin, 'Frankie and Joely' by Nova Weetman, and 'Talk Under Water' by Kathryn Lomer

November 2015, no. 376 29 October 2015
In Trinity Doyle's Pieces of Sky (Allen & Unwin, $16.99 pb, 290 pp, 9781760112486), it has been eight weeks since Lucy's older brother Cam drowned while surfing. Images of his death fill her head and prevent Lucy, a backstroke champion, from returning to the pool. She suffers a panic attack and flees from a training session, unable or unwilling to explain why: 'I know I'm not going to drown ... (read more)

Reading Australia: ‘The Gathering’ by Isobelle Carmody

Reading Australia 03 June 2015
My postgraduate student frowned. ‘The Gathering? Isn’t that the one where someone sets a dog on fire?’ Spoiler alert: indeed it is. It is the book’s most memorable scene; it is certainly the most horrific. My postgrad had read Isobelle Carmody’s 1993 novel in high school and that was the first memory of it which surfaced. The scene shocked readers and alienated many: ‘I re-read the nov ... (read more)

Ruth Starke reviews 'Standing on the Shoulders of Giants' by Mark Rafidi

April 2015, no. 370 27 March 2015
Ruth Starke reviews 'Standing on the Shoulders of Giants' by Mark Rafidi
‘When I think about picture books,’ writes Mark Rafidi in the first line of his foreword, ‘the words of the young girl in David Legge’s Bamboozled strikes [sic] me immediately.’ What strikes me immediately is that Standing on the Shoulders of Giants is a book that hasn’t been properly edited. By the time I reached the final page I wondered if the book had been edited at all. Rafidi ha ... (read more)

Ruth Starke reviews 'South of Darkness' by John Marsden

November 2014, no. 366 01 November 2014
Ruth Starke reviews 'South of Darkness' by John Marsden
It is sobering to think that the thousands of teenagers who in 1987 eagerly devoured John Marsden’s first novel, So Much To Tell You, and sent it and the author spinning into bestsellerdom are now in their forties – and as such, the target readership for his first adult novel, South of Darkness, a transportation saga that covers some familiar ground with a light tread.     ... (read more)
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