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The Last Week In December by Ursula…
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The Last Week In December (1993)

by Ursula Dubosarsky

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Published in 1993, this is a now retro-feeling middle grade book with a cast of quirky characters and a distinctively rural Australian setting. The first chapter is particularly engaging, with differences between country life and urban life highlighted. This gives the usual 'moving house and changing schools' plot some spark.

I'm not a fan of the cover art, in which the main character looks far older than she is. This is a story that could only ever apply to someone of about 11, and the cover illustration of Bella is kind of creepy-old.

Endings are always problematic. I know that Bella has already suffered for her crime -- she's been tortured for three years with guilt, but I hoped for a confrontation with the actual owner. Perhaps this would have been too predictable. I'm not sure it's normal for children to steal, and the ending seemed to put a too-rosy spin on things. That said, I don't think this book is going to encourage theft, at least not for kids with a conscience. ( )
  LynleyS | Feb 8, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140349847, Paperback)

This is a tale of how eight-year-old Bella's mistake is still haunting her three years later. With realism the story tells of Bella's compulsion to steal her English grandfather's leather pouch and take it back to Australia. But she eventually gets found out.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:48 -0400)

Abstract(s): Three years ago, 11-year-old Bella did something she was ashamed of during her English grandparents' last visit to Australia. Now all the guilty feelings of those years are crystallised by their latest visit to the family. Christmas week is totally spoiled for Bella as she wavers between defiance and secrecy, and wishes for honesty and openness. Bella's learning to accept the differences of her aunt very close to her own age, provides glimpses into the ways families work. The unexpected solution to her own dilemma comes in a twist at the end of this engaging story.… (more)

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