A blog that discusses literature for young people.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

"The Whole Business with Kiffo and the Pitbull" by Barry Jonsberg

A story told in the voice of Year 10 student Calma Harrison, who is writing down the tale of her friend Kiffo and his tumultuous relationship with his English teacher Miss Payne (nicknamed 'The Pitbull'). In the opening chapters we see Miss Payne come in to replace a previous English teacher who's had a nervous breakdown. Her ferocious attitude in the classroom earns her a canine nickname and her persecution of Kiffo earns her an enemy. In retaliation Kiffo and Calma stake out the Pitbull's house with plans to trash the place but instead they stumble upon a mystery that leaves them suspecting that the Pitbull is a drug dealer. They continue to stalk her with sometimes funny but ultimately tragic consequences.

For the most part this is a pacey and contemporary story. Jonsberg captures the voice of his young female protagonist with surprising accuracy and uses humour to great effect. I liked the parallel story that was told briefly at the start of each chapter of how Kiffo and Calma first became friends.

I loved the first half of the book but then found myself getting less convinced about the plausibility of some of the plot twists in the second half.

Jonsberg has recently come out with a sequel to The Whole Business with Kiffo and the Pitbull, called It's Not all About YOU, Cama! Check out the Allen&Unwin site for more details.

The Whole Business with Kiffo and the Pitbull was shortlisted for the 2005 CBCA Children's Book of the Year Awards in the Older Reader's category.


Blogger Rachel said...

Hi Rachel, I liked this book too.

12:58 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home