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The Watertower [Paperback]

Gary Crew
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 9.95
Price: CDN$ 9.45 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

March 1 2013
Nobody in Preston could remember when the watertower was built, or who had built it, but there it stood on Shooter's Hill - its iron legs rusted, its egg-shaped tank warped and leaking - casting a long dark shadow across the valley, across Preston itself.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Crew (First Light) weaves a disquieting tale set in an Australian outback town, where a rusted old watertower seems to be inhabited by a malevolent alien presence. One sweltering afternoon, two buddies named Bubba and Steve, climb the tower for a swim. When Bubba's pants are lost, Steve runs back to town to get him another pair, to avert Bubba's mother's wrath. In the meantime, Bubba takes another dunk and emerges a changed boy (readers never find out why); he now possesses the same crazed, fixed expression that the town's grown-ups wear, and his hand is marked with the watertower logo?which also appears on baseball caps and elsewhere around town. Crew lets readers draw their own conclusions about these strange events. Unfortunately, despite Woolman's able renderings in acrylic, chalk and pencil, the design?which shifts between horizontal and vertical orientations?only underscores the feeling of disorientation raised in the text. This one may well leave even savvy older readers in the dark. Ages 7-14.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3 Up?In this "Twilight Zone"-type picture book for older children, the menace lurks behind the innocuous words, and in what the illustrations don't show. The plot is deceptively flat: two boys go swimming in a decrepit watertower. When Bubba is reluctant to return to his heavy-handed mother after he has lost his shorts (apparently blown off the tower), Spike runs back to sneak another pair out to him. Bubba has been afraid of the water, but when Spike returns, his friend is climbing out of the tank and boasting about his swim, which Spike finds "not like Bubba." That's the story. The pictures, in a highly realistic style, show the shabby outback town dominated by the eye-shaped tank at one end and a huge antenna dish at the other. The cryptic symbol printed on the tank, a segmented incomplete circle, appears repeatedly on various objects: caps, machinery, and, in the final frame, on Bubba's hand. Eyes are important: the townsfolk's eyes turn up to the watertower expectantly, and Bubba's eyes are different after that swim. The page layout, oriented longitudinally, shifts again at the critical pages (through a framing device that is part of the puzzle) so that readers unconsciously rotate the book and end by reading it backwards. What mysterious change has occurred? Many debates and a close examination of the words and pictures will inevitably follow any causal reading of this true picture book?a union in which text and illustrations work inseparably to create a strange but compelling whole.?Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Watertower keeps them interested June 22 2000
Format:Paperback
This book has kept the students in my grade 4/5 class at Acton School in Burnie, Tasmania captivated throughout this whole week. At first when I read it to them they picked up that the town residents eyes were funny looking but on further investigation they found many other peculiarities in the story. They were crowding around the book trying to see the different pictures and solve the mystery.
Erin says her favourite part was when Bubba came out of the tank and Spike wants him to show him his hand. Bubba says "No" because his mum would be worried however at the beginning he says that his mum would not care!
Alaster says that his favourite part of the book is solving all the mysteries.
Laura says her favourite part of the book was the picture of Bubba's face up close.
Melissa Lowry agrees with Erin that the part where Bubba came out of the Watertower is her favourite. Actually most of the class agrees that this part was the best. I think this is because it began all the questioning about the story.
Aaron and Matthew say that the mystery is related to the pitchfork that is seen on all pages.
We will be continuing to use Gary Crew books for language and drama work. We would love to hear from any one who has solved the mysteries in the story or of any activities you have been doing in the classroom. Thanks. .............
Was this review helpful to you?
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Alluring pictures cleverly take you into the rich text format of this unusual book. Engaging story about two boys, recognisable both by wonderful colourful pictures with close-ups resembling photographs. Characters are sensitively drawn and deal with issues around being a boy in today's world, parenting and peer group pressure. Bubba challenges his fear through interacting with the mystic waters of the water tower which takes on a totemic aura throughout the story. Boys love this book and so do I as an adult. It's filmic, graphic and invites many readings.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't shrug it off just because it's a picture book April 28 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I have always been a fan of gary's and i was lucky enough to meet him. i was in one of his workshops on writing and i found him to be truly amazing.The Watertower, was a book we read in book club with older readers, and we found it intreging. It was easy to read the story, but as soon as you saw the subliminal messages in the illustrations, it was hard to focus your concerntration on the actual text. Don't shrug it off if you have that poor attitude about picture books.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Watertower keeps them interested June 22 2000
By Meagan Currie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book has kept the students in my grade 4/5 class at Acton School in Burnie, Tasmania captivated throughout this whole week. At first when I read it to them they picked up that the town residents eyes were funny looking but on further investigation they found many other peculiarities in the story. They were crowding around the book trying to see the different pictures and solve the mystery.
Erin says her favourite part was when Bubba came out of the tank and Spike wants him to show him his hand. Bubba says "No" because his mum would be worried however at the beginning he says that his mum would not care!
Alaster says that his favourite part of the book is solving all the mysteries.
Laura says her favourite part of the book was the picture of Bubba's face up close.
Melissa Lowry agrees with Erin that the part where Bubba came out of the Watertower is her favourite. Actually most of the class agrees that this part was the best. I think this is because it began all the questioning about the story.
Aaron and Matthew say that the mystery is related to the pitchfork that is seen on all pages.
We will be continuing to use Gary Crew books for language and drama work. We would love to hear from any one who has solved the mysteries in the story or of any activities you have been doing in the classroom. Thanks. .............
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eerie but fun Dec 30 2002
By Lynda Preston - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This eerie tale will keep the reader intrigued long after finishing the book. In the town of Preston, an old rusting water tower stands on the edge of a hill. Two boys decide to go inside for a swim on a sweltering summer day. What happens inside is a mystery, but one of the boys is forever changed.

This 1995 Australian Picture Book of the Year winner uses the contrast between colorful illustrations and black background to great effect. In a twist on the usual picture book, the illustrations tell the real story, while the text provides the background information.
What a great puzzle. This is the kind of book that I could not stop thinking about, even long after I read it. This is an engaging book for adults as well as for children.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant exploration of spooky adventure and boys' mentalit March 26 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Alluring pictures cleverly take you into the rich text format of this unusual book. Engaging story about two boys, recognisable both by wonderful colourful pictures with close-ups resembling photographs. Characters are sensitively drawn and deal with issues around being a boy in today's world, parenting and peer group pressure. Bubba challenges his fear through interacting with the mystic waters of the water tower which takes on a totemic aura throughout the story. Boys love this book and so do I as an adult. It's filmic, graphic and invites many readings.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't shrug it off just because it's a picture book April 28 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have always been a fan of gary's and i was lucky enough to meet him. i was in one of his workshops on writing and i found him to be truly amazing.The Watertower, was a book we read in book club with older readers, and we found it intreging. It was easy to read the story, but as soon as you saw the subliminal messages in the illustrations, it was hard to focus your concerntration on the actual text. Don't shrug it off if you have that poor attitude about picture books.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sinister...with a sequel April 27 2005
By Laura - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I love this book - it is so clever and stirs emotions of confusion within the reader so easily. The only thing that I didn't like about it when I first read it, was that it raised so many questions that I had nowhere to find an answer to! Well never fear, make sure you read the sequel - BENEATH THE SURFACE. It shows how the watertower affects the world. Truly breathtaking storytelling.
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