Major and Mynah
Publisher: Firefly Press
When random items are being stolen from around the neighbourhood, nine year-old Callie and her best friend Grace set out to catch the thief. The arrival of a stray bird on the scene adds an extra tier of mystery and magic, acquiring Callie’s family a new pet and her detective team a rather unusual sidekick. As it happens, Bo the mynah bird is actually rather helpful, as well having very striking purple poo.
The protagonist is hearing impaired and has reluctantly started wearing hearing aids. The story sees her begin to realise that her hated ‘slugs’ can have their uses, particularly when she finds that she can actually understand Bo’s squawks when she has them in. Callie’s deafness is inspired by the author’s own lived experience and love-hate relationship with her hearing aids. Likewise Callie’s ability to understand ‘bird’ originates from her own childhood dreaming of being able to hear things that others couldn’t. The result is an innovative, nuanced and fun-packed adventure, with accessible text, engaging black and white illustrations and a convincingly excitable narrative voice.
Touching on bullying and bereavement as well as hearing loss, this book deals with all its themes gently, positively and sensitively. Above all, it’s a great mystery story with a splash of magic and lashings of poo-related humour.