Every summer, Rowan and his cousin Zach camp in the Snowy Mountains with their families. The adults love the annual reunion, but Rowan dreads having to spend time with Zach. Zach is taller and stronger than Rowan, and loves to take risks. He also loves to tease Rowan. But when disaster strikes while the boys are on a hike, it is Rowan who must risk his life to save Zach.
“Roan stood quite still. Straight ahead of him was a bridge. But this bridge was only a few handheld ropes and footholds. The bridge connected one side of a deep gully in the Snowy Mountains to the other. Twenty meters under the footholds, frothy water gushed over jagged rocks.
Roan turned slightly. He saw his cousin Zach smile, heard him yell, ‘Bet you’re too sissy.’
‘Yah… Cos you’re woos…’
Roan cried ‘Sez you…’ only his voice came out as a squeak, Not that it mattered. Hands clinging onto the side ropes, Zach was already halfway across the bridge.”
Reviewed by Vicki Stanton 2008
Bridging the Snowy is part of the second Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! series of Australian chapter books for middle to upper primary school children.
In Bridging the Snowy, cousins Zach and Rowan are on their annual family camping trip to the Snowy Mountains. Rowan is the more cautious of the two and Zach delights in teasing him. When Zach heads of on a hike, Rowan reluctantly joins him. Zach injures his knee, and later loses consciousness, and Rowan must face his fears to save his cousin’s life.
It is at this point that the story is at its most engaging as Rowan battles darkness, rain, a collapsing rope bridge and his fear of heights to reach help for Zach. Zach is saved and the relationship shifts to a more equal basis as Rowan demands respect from his cousin.
Cailin Burns’ black and white illustrations add an extra dimension to the text and increase readers’ understanding of the boys’ isolation. This is an easy to read and enjoyable adventure story.
I was a fat and awkward child. In a way this stood me in good stead as those very misfortunes pushed me into becoming a great reader, and from there into writing. Perhaps if I had come from a different background, things might have been different. Perhaps I would have overcome many of my fears. But as it was, my migrant parents didn’t like to see me in any situation that could involve any risk.
I was the only child in our neighbourhood who never owned, much less learnt, to ride a bike. Like Rowan I was teased and tormented by more athletic children. When it came to physical education and jumping over the ‘wooden horse’, I was the only girl in my class who never managed it. So it was fun creating a situation where a boy with a similar problem finally displays his innate bravery and courage to save his bullying cousin.
AUSSIE! AUSSIE! AUSSIE! stories are written for young Australians aged 7—10 and levelled appropriately. They are supported by cartoon illustrations which add meaning to the text for the young reader.
The series was commissioned to ensure Australian primary school students have access to engaging, quality Australian stories and stories set in an Australian context.
The stories were chosen for the quality of the story and the way in which it represented the essence of the Australian character, Australian values and the uniqueness of the Australian urban, rural and natural environment.