Mountain Blue Publishing (2021)
Reviewed by Lily Andrews for Reader Views Kids (07/2021)
“FireWorks” is an endearing tale by Australian-born award-winning author Oliver Smuhar. Inspired by Australia’s bushfires that occurred in 2019-2020, this heartwarming tale tells the story of five Australian animals as they flee far from the affected territories. The story is narrated by the animals, especially Illuka, the koala, a herbivorous marsupial native to Australia, and Bouddi, an omnivorous marsupial. The author describes the antagonist as Alinta the bushfire with an esurient appetite that destroys everything in its wake.
The author’s creative use of anthropomorphism is superb. It has succeeded in creating vivid, imaginative characters that readers can relate to. The warm tale captures a wave of emotions in a reader as one gets a glimpse of the fear, uncertainty, and destruction caused by the bushfires in Australia. Oliver Smuhar is descriptive in his writing and provides a perfect setting for his story.
Notable is the fact that there are art-conscious visuals present in the book that welcomes readers across the chapters. I loved how the author created fictional characters to represent authentic facts relating to the sad period. Told from a hopeful perspective, “FireWorks” is a story of loss, hope, determination, and strength.
Author Smuhar has further added inspirational quotes from notable Australians that serve as hints to the themes expressed in the chapters. This book is not only an eye-opener but also educative as well. The language used is easy to understand and the storyline easy to follow.
Oliver Smuhar has introduced numerous characters in the beginning chapters that can throw a reader off-balance for a while. For this reason, I give the book 4 stars. That notwithstanding, “FireWorks” is a spectacular novel that is appropriate for all ages and would make a fantastic class reader for young children. The names given to the characters add to the enjoyment of the book. It is a timeless resource that will be used for ages to come.