Review: Rockhopping by Trace Balla

Trace Balla’s intricate illustrations in Rockhopping – the companion title to last year’s Rivertime – immediately draw you into what is a delightful story of adventure and discovery.

Aimed at readers aged between 5 and 10, Rockhopping tells the tale of 10-year-old Clancy who, having travelled by canoe along the Glenelg River in Rivertime along with his Uncle Egg, now has a thirst for adventure. In Rockhopping, Clancy has set his sites on hiking to the source of the river in Gariwerd (The Grampians).

Such an adventure demands fierce training, and Clancy is set to task by his Uncle, skipping the bus to school in favour of walking with a backpack full of baked beans. After several weeks, Clancy is ready, and he and Uncle Egg begin packing for five days in the wilderness.

Throughout their journey, Clancy and his Uncle encounter a wild array of native Australian wildlife, flora and fauna. Theirs is a story of swimming in ponds and camping in caves that is bound to inspire young adventurers to get outside and explore themselves.

The journey is depicted alonsgside detailed illustrations, and can be read together at once or poured over for hours. This is a beautiful book that nature lovers and adventurers are bound to fall in love with.

Rockhopping was published by Allen and Unwin in April 2016. It was featured in our April BookWormz box for ages 6-7.

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