The Bomb by Sacha Cotter
Finalist in the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2019.
In this story about being true to oneself, a boy searches for the secret to doing the perfect bomb into the water. With training from Nan, an expert and former champion, and by listening to his own voice, he finds his unique style and pulls off a wonderful, acrobatic, truly awe-inspiring bomb.
The story for this distinctly Kiwi pastime came to author Sacha Cotter after a trip home one summer to Kawerau. She watched children spend hours trying to do the ‘coolest’ bomb.
‘Everywhere I went, I saw kids jumping off things and having the time of their lives. It reminded me of my own childhood. I wanted to write a story that celebrated a much-loved part of our culture – the art of dive bombing.”
She said she noticed a particular culture, and began to wonder what it might be like for a child that didn’t fit the traditional mould.
The Bomb is a story with a strong and positive message about difference. It encourages younger readers to be themselves and let their voices be heard. There’s also a lovely, more subtle, message about the importance of intergenerational knowledge.
The Bomb is also available in a te reo Māori edition. However, the English version also has a few te reo words in it, sprinkled in in a natural, authentic way. This gives the book an even stronger Aotearoa-vibe.
Once again, Cotter has paired with illustrator Josh Morgan, who she also worked with on her two previous books Keys and The Marble Maker.
Morgan’s illustrations are as quirky and bright as before, that are full of detail. The illustrations demand you read the book again and again, with each reading allowing you to spot a detail you missed before. Morgan captures the essence and vibrancy of the story perfectly. The flora and fauna instantly place the reader in New Zealand, with swooping tūī and spiky cabbage trees galore. A full two-page spread of ‘the bomb’ is beautifully rendered, with Kiwi icons in the splash. The change in orientation helps younger readers cement their working knowledge of books too.
The Bomb is a lovely story based around the ritual of Aotearoa summer life that will inspire young Kiwis to make their own splash.
Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser
Huia, RRP $23.00