The Those Kids series is a set of linked high-interest illustrated chapter books, which are based on real places, people and events – drawing on the sailing & camping lifestyle of our own five sons while cruising around NZ, Australia and the Pacific. The books follow the lives of two fictional sailing families (Australian and Kiwi) over the course of two years.
Jon Tucker conceived these books as a feeder series for the more complex twelve books in Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series.
Jon has constructed these books to cater for reluctant readers in the upper-primary and secondary school age-group who are likely to find the length and complexity of Arthur Ransome’s books too daunting. With chapter lengths limited to under 2500 words, the books are suitable for adults to read aloud to children, and for time-challenged contemporary kids to read in manageable bites.
Already it appears that having gained confidence and interest from this series, a number of pre-teenagers have moved on to similar longer books, including Arthur Ransome’s.
Interestingly enough, it has gained the attention of a significant proportion of adult readers, who are fascinated with the deeper underlying themes of trust and responsibility.
The first three are now available as ebooks, or as paperbacks from many Australian and NZ bookstores, as well as directly from firstname.lastname@example.org
Book 1: Those Snake Island Kids
When three Tasmanian kids are joined by Kiwi twins to camp on a small local island, they don’t anticipate the events which are to leave them isolated. With real buried treasure on their minds, it’s hardly surprising that they misinterpret the intentions of a bearded bird-lover who arrives on their island with his suspicious map and rifle.
Book 2: Those Eco-Pirate Kids
Fin has always been passionate about fishing, so when he discovers an illegal net full of undersized fish in Sydney’s northern waterways, his first reaction is to empty it. The subsequent events turn a fun holiday into a rather more complex experience.
Book 3: Those Shipwreck kids
When a Tasmanian sailing family anchors near an old wrecked hulk in New Zealand’s Marlborough Sounds, the kids discover a strangely abandoned campsite nearby, with plates of uneaten food and children’s toys still visible under the cockroaches and mould. Their curiosity leads to an investigation which adds a layer of intrigue to their much-anticipated fun experiences of an unfamiliar foreign land.
Book 4: Those Sugar-barge Kids
New Zealand’s Bay of Islands is a unique setting in which two sailing families set out to explore the country’s so-called ‘Winterless North’. When they team up with a couple of local kids who live with their often absent father on an abandoned sugar-barge among the mangrove swamps, the recipe is ripe for unexpected adventure.
Book 5: Those Kids did WHAT?
A family voyage to an uninhabited atoll in New Caledonia’s Loyalty Islands turns into a desperate exercise in cooperation and self-reliance for three kids when their parents are struck down with serious fish poisoning. The two brothers and their sister are able to combine their distinct separate qualities and passions, to successfully sail their yacht to a safe port for their parents’ recovery.
Book 6 : Those Kids up that Lake.
When five Tasmanian and Kiwi sailing kids decide to explore a remote lake for a few days in some kayaks, they chance upon a set of odd paw-prints. Could this be evidence of the supposedly extinct Tasmanian Tiger? In their search for further clues, they learn more about themselves and their environment than they expected.