This is Lasenby at his warm, comic best, spinning terrific yarns and at the same time capturing for posterity a little of the old-time New Zealand.

Best Books 2012 (New Zealand Herald)

Uncle Trev and His Whistling Bull

It’s the 1930s. Our storyteller is crook in bed trying to get over a long sickness and wanting to go back to school, when Uncle Trev arrives to let Mum go out and do the shopping.

Available as an ebook wherever you buy your ebooks

  • Description

    Uncle Trev and His Whistling Bull  is a hilarious novel from New Zealand’s master teller-of-tall-tales.

    It’s the 1930s. Our storyteller is crook in bed trying to get over a long sickness and wanting to go back to school, when Uncle Trev arrives to let Mum go out and do the shopping.

    Uncle Trev tells one story after another about the animals out on his farm, and about his neighbour Gotta Henry. He also goes through Mum’s cupboards and helps himself to all her gingernut biscuits and Louise cake.

    If you think Mum should be grateful to get out of the house, she’s not. When she comes home, she chases Uncle Trev and his dog, Old Tip, with her broom and threatens what she’ll do to ‘that man’ next time he comes in.

  • Book Details

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

  • Reviews

    1. North & South, June 2013

      Gleeful mischief runs riot in Jack Lasenby’s highly enjoyable Uncle Trev and his Whistling Bull …the kind of book that sets imaginations running.

    2. St Georges Readers Blog, July 2013

      I really do love this book, and it is extremely entertaining, consistently well-written and just the right mix of sincere, slapstick and a tiny bit scary… Highly recommended!

    3. Judges Report, New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, July 2013

      There is a lot here to astonish the reader who has never really considered what country life was like for their great-grandparents in a pre-electrical, pre-digital, age. But also a lot to appreciate: the warmth and companionship of story-telling, and Mum’s cake tins which are always full of Louise cake, date scones, and gingernuts.

    4. Hester (7), Page and Blackmore Booksellers Newsletter, June 2013

      This is a hugely funny, interesting story… My favourite chapter is the story about when all of the animals on the farm get hot water bottles when it’s frosty. I enjoyed this book so much.

    5. Zoe from Room 2, Year 6 (greenbaywriters), June 2013

      I did learn things from this book. All the words that I didn’t understand were at the very back of the book with the meanings beside it, so that I could see what they meant. … I think the Author could have changed the title name to `Uncle Trev and his Whistling Bull, and other stories’.

    6. Jayden from Room 13, Green Bay Intermediate (greenbaywriters), June 2013

      The boy’s mother is an obnoxious nosey parker who is always trying to correct or stop Uncle Trev’s stories and who has extremely acute senses, which means she can smell when Uncle has been around and even hear the echo of his stories.

    7. The Best Nest Blog (NZ), May 2013

      Uncle Trev and his menagerie of animals, friends, family and others in the wider community could happily exist in any town, in any corner of New Zealand. Ethan (8.5yrs) has been kept guessing and questioning as he is not sure of the credibility of Uncle Trev, some of his tales seemed to be a little tall – but they are so convincing! …Moments of pure hilarity told in a beautifully `kiwi’ way that is warm, recognisable and endearing to readers of all ages.

    8. The Source, September 2012

      Jack Lasenby’s Uncle Trev stories are just the right length to read aloud during the morning drive to school – with somebody else driving, of course … Uncle Trev’s stories always have impeccable internal logic.

    9. Page and Blackmore, July 2012

      I really liked this book and I would recommend it to other kids to read. It amused me. I want to read more from this author.

    10. Bookrapt, July 2012

      These tall tales from a master storyteller have the nostalgic air of yarns from the 1930s … Larger than life characters, man and animal, perform amazing feats of strength, courage and wonder. Terminology from a past era may mystify today’s young readers … a glossary at the back of the book helps explain unfamiliar terms.

    11. Magpies, May 2012

      This latest title in the [Uncle Trev] series … proves that despite his venerable age, Jack Lasenby has not lost any of his inspiration. There’s not just one tall tale in this volume, there are dozens, as the slippery Uncle Trev pops in and entertains the young, unnamed narrator.

    12. Around the Bookshops (Children’s Review), May 2012

      This book is full of surprises and a bit of adventure and it’s only slightly scary.

    13. Carousel (UK), March 2013

      Throughout the fabulous stories there are plenty of unforgettable characters…A zany story book to dip into whenever you need cheering up.

    14. Best Books 2012 (New Zealand Herald), December 2012

      This is Lasenby at his warm, comic best, spinning terrific yarns and at the same time capturing for posterity a little of the old-time New Zealand.

    15. Dunedin Family Times, July 2012

      Brilliant characters and hilarious stories you won’t know whether to believe or not.

    16. The Telegraph (UK), April 2012

      Full of the mild anarchy of childhood. You get a sense from the Introductory chapter, titled My Mother’s Remarkable Ears, that the book is going to fun. The narrator, a poorly 1930s schoolboy on a farm, has a pretty intimidating mum. Her ears are so sharp they can hear the echo of naughty conversations …
      Into the mix comes the boy’s wild and garrulous Uncle Trev … Uncle Trev’s tales pepper the story and the humour is wonderfully daft.

    17. Bobs Books Blog, April 2012

      This novel for primary and intermediate school children is a laugh from beginning to end.

    18. The Children’s Bookshop School and Library Newsletter, Term 1 2012

      The fifth collection of Uncle Trev’s quixotic yarns…is laugh-out-loud home-spun humour and perfect for reading aloud to Years 4 to 6 classes as each chapter is a complete story.

    19. Parents in Touch (UK), March 2012

      The vivid use of language should inspire young writers. Oral storytelling is essential for all the preservation of all cultures and this is a wonderful example of a fascinating tradition. There is wonder and amazement in every tale, even about the simplest of subjects; a gentle humour shines through although there is also a serious aspect to many of the tales. A wonderful book for reading aloud.

Available worldwide from your local bookstore or online.

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