Bonjour Lucy Beeby Anne Ingram
When Lucy goes to France for summer, she is looking forward to spending time with her French relatives at a family reunion. On the way from the airport, the family sees a line of refugees on the road. She immediately gets offside with her cousin Celeste, who blames the refugees for a burglary.
When Lucy discovers a very ill young Afghan refugee, she hides him, not realising that what she is doing may be illegal.
Lucy’s story continues with her and her cousins heading off on a boat trip. As they travel along the canals and idyllic French countryside, danger stalks close behind and Lucy is tested to the extreme.
The story cracks along at a fast pace, with plenty of action, intrigue and mystery to keep readers turning the page. Sometimes it moves too quickly, with the reader just getting their head around a new setting before you’re swept off into another.
However, author Anne Ingram has created a cast of wonderful, dynamic characters. Lucy is strong, compassionate and full of empathy. She takes on challenges and isn’t afraid to push boundaries or stand up for what she believes in. Each of her cousins have their own backgrounds and emotions, opinions and thoughts. This isn’t a story full of ‘happy families’ and everyone getting on – there are fights, differences in opinions and views.
The introduction of Qasim, the young Afghan refuge, adds yet another layer. Ingram approaches the subject in a gentle, yet powerful, way. She explores the issues of Europe’s refugee crisis through Lucy’s compassion and empathy. The story draws on Qasim’s reality, offering a multi-faceted viewpoint to the complex situation.
While the ending was a little too predictable and perfect, it was well suited and appropriate.
There’s a glossary of French words and phrases included in the back of the book which is a nice touch. Ingram does a great job of integrating French words and phrases into the story with translations, which means you don’t have to flip back and forwards to the glossary during the reading. A family tree at the start of the book helps readers keep track of the numerous family members and their links introduced in the book.
Suitable for upper primary school students, it will spark deeper thinking and offers a space for reflection for these children. Bonjour Lucy Bee is a considerate and considered story about an important topic.
Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser
One Tree House, RRP $22.00