An excellent read, laced with humour...readers will find themselves wishing that this book went on long after the last page.

Booksellers We Love Books Blog


A highly readable new pre-teen novel from the beloved New Zealand writer Joy Cowley.

Available as an ebook wherever you buy your ebooks

  • Description

    Dunger is a highly readable novel from New Zealand’s beloved Joy Cowley.  William and Melissa have been roped into helping their old hippie grandparents fix up their holiday home in the middle of the Sounds. They’ll have no electricity, no cellphone reception, and only each other for company. As far as they’re concerned, this is not a holiday.

    Dunger is the winner of multiple awards, including the junior fiction category of the NZ Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, 2014.  This book is suitable for boys and girls ages 10 to 14. Chapters are told in the alternating viewpoints of William and Melissa.

  • Book Details

    Country of Origin New Zealand
    Reader Age 6-8 year, 8-12 year
    Book Size

  • Reviews

    1. LIANZA Esther Glen Junior Fiction Award


    2. New Zealand Post Book Awards

      Winner, Junior fiction

  • Reviews

    1. The Alligator’s Mouth (UK), February 2015

      Utterly charming and engaging … I fell in love with the family … A great holiday read to share, read aloud, or pass around.

    2. Reader review, The Guardian (UK), August 2014

      I thought this book was extremely good. I would rate it 8.5/10.

    3. Bob’s Books Blog (NZ), September 2013

      A great little story this from one of New Zealand’s most gifted children’s writers … The grand parents are brilliant and the ending produces some real drama. Great read-a-loud for primary and Intermediate students.

    4. Judges’ Report, New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, June 2014

      Dry, droll and never dull … rich and deep. This is what our ordinary lives are like. manages to give us pride in ourselves and also makes us laugh at ourselves. The richness of the deceptively simple design is absolutely true to the spirit of this quintessentially New Zealand story. Congratulations to Joy Cowley for Dunger.

    5. North and South (NZ), June 2014

      Funny, moving and genuine. As ever, Cowley hits the mark with her audience.

    6. The Children’s Bookshop (NZ), May 2014

      A warm and funny tale of self-sufficiency and relationships. Age 10+.

    7. The Source (Aus), February 2014

      Dunger is that most unusual of books, a highly enjoyable story for young readers which older readers also find to their taste. A tale for all ages.

    8. Page and Blackmore Newsletter, February 2014

      There’s a bit of an art to choosing a book that’s not only enjoyable for me to read but is interesting and enjoyable for the girls, aged 6, 8 & 10. The biggest hit was Dunger by Joy Cowley… We all loved the book and were disappointed when it ended.

    9. Daily Post Rotorua, December 2013

      An absolute joy from start to finish … It will take you back to childhood summer holidays … Joy Cowley brings to the tale her delightful sense of humour and a light touch as only such an accomplished writer can.

    10. The Bookbag (UK), January 2014

      Spirited, warm, intelligent, and…has sensible and mature messages to impart. I hope it gets a wide audience.

    11. John McIntyre, Radio National Nine to Noon, December 2013

      An ideal read on holiday. So quintessentially New Zealand it comes with sandflies … A pure adventure story, a great story for dads to read to their sons and daughters this Christmas.

    12. School Library Association NZ Aotearoa Magazine, December 2013

      This is a gem… Joy Cowley nailed this one, five stars for sure… Told alternatively by Will and Melissa, you see their confidence, character and relationship develop as they explore a very precious and beautiful part of New Zealand.

    13. The NZ Listener 50 Best Children’s Books of 2013, November 2013

      Hilarious and endearing.

    14. Storylines Books For Christmas Giving, December 2013

      A classic New Zealand holiday story.

    15. Magpies, November 2013

      Fans of Joy Cowley will love this story which alternates chapters in the voice of Will and Lissy. Recommended for intermediate and junior secondary students.

    16. The Children’s Bookshop Newsletter, October 2013

      A warm and funny story about family relationships and a great read-aloud for age 8+

    17. Bookrapt (reviewed by Jean Bennett), November 2013

      Joy Cowley brings all four characters to life with realistic interactions and sparkling dialogue… an honest, believable, funny, perceptive, superbly-written Kiwi tale for all the family to enjoy.

    18. Booksellers We Love Books Blog, October 2013

      An excellent read, laced with humour, irony and written using such excellent imagery … A great book for both kids and adults alike, Dunger will be loved by people of all ages. The characters are vivid and lovable, and readers will find themselves wishing that this book went on long after the last page.

    19. Around the Bookshops, September 2013

      I can’t recommend it highly enough and hope many, many children will have the pleasure of hearing it read aloud and even more will read it for themselves.

Available worldwide from your local bookstore or online.

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