Taconi and Claude: Double Trouble

Taconi & Claude9781616331306_p0_v1_s260x420Taconi & Claude: Double Trouble

Margot E. Finke, Author

Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc., Fiction, Jan. 2011

Themes:  Aboriginal boy, Australian Outback, Multicultural, Coming of Age, Courage

Suitable for Ages:  Middle Grade

Opening:  “The full moon cast a cold light on Taconi’s naked body as four wizened elders pinned him on the ground close to a blazing fire.  Sweat rolled off him, and his heart raced the thump, thump, thump of the feather drums: faster and faster.”

Synopsis:  This is a 1950’s coming of age story about a young aboriginal boy living in the Australian outback.  Nearly 13, Taconi  knows he will soon face his upcoming man ceremony  and suffers night terrors.   Secrecy shrouds the ceremony and he has no one to talk with except Claude, his chatty Cockatoo.  He’s also torn about leaving his mother and tribe to live with his father, who is a cook at the Coorparoo Cattle Station.   His father says that it’s good for Taconi to learn and understand the white man’s world if he’s to serve his tribe in later years.   Taconi will train as a jackaroo (cowboy) on the cattle ranch.  The Boss and the Misses throw a big party which gives Taconi’s father the chance to become the head “Cookie,” at the ranch.   But the meal is jeopardized when dingoes (wild dogs) raid the chicken house, leaving no meat for the soup.  Taconi wants to help his father and goes on a dangerous walkabout  into the bush with Claude to find good aboriginal meat for the soup.  He kills a Bandy-Bandy snake, searches for Witchetty grubs, a Goanna (lizard) and catches Yabbies (shell-fish) for his father’s soup.  Only Taconi and his father know the secret of a good pot of soup.  Trouble still lurks before the big ranch party.   And, Taconi must have the courage to deal with the Dreamtime Spirits planning his future.         

Why I like this book:  I was wowed  by Taconi and Claude from the first chapter.  Margot Finke has written a gripping story that weaves Aussie language and vivid tales of Medicine Men and tribal customs with an adventure that boys and girls won’t be able to put down.  Finke quickly draws the reader into Taconi’s life in the outback and the challenges he faces.  Each chapter is a page turner.   The characters are fleshed out, including his awesome Cockatoo, Claude, who provides much comic relief throughout the story.  The plot is exciting, funny and packed  with action.  Readers will enjoy learning about eating live Witchetty Grubs,  catching Yabbies and being covered by green fire ants.  There is a glossary of Aussie terms at the end of the book that will introduce readers to a variety of new vocabulary and expose them to a new culture.

Clara Bowman-Jahn also reviewed Taconi and Claude last year on her blog.

Margot Finke is an Aussie transplant who writes middle grade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. For many years she has lived in Oregon with her husband and family.  Visit Margot Finke  on her website. 

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

32 thoughts on “Taconi and Claude: Double Trouble

    • Catherine, it is an excellent story for kids and adults. Margot is a very vivid and witty author. You can feel Taconi’s fear and almost taste the grubs. Love Taconi’s talking Cockatoo who is very funny. Hope you read the book.


  1. This book sounds like it gives excellent insights into both the traditional aboriginal way of life and into the way they have had to adapt to the white man’s world. Thank you for this vivid review. You’ve really brought the book to life for me, and made me want to find it — now to find time to read it!


    • Beth, the book is well-written. You really experience the outback at that time. I loved the movie “Australia,” and this has a similar feel to it. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the aboriginal life. She is a vivid writer and invokes all of your senses.


    • You are welcome Clar. It was a fun read. I learned so much. I really enjoyed learning even more from Margot about the culture. Inspired me to put on the movie “Australia” today with Nicole Kidman.


  2. I thought the visuals and acting skills were excellent in the movie Australia, but found it slightly indulgent and melodramatic at times. It does, however, give some excellent cultural and historical insights. I suspect I would find Taconi and Claude even more authentic and look forward to reading this one of Margot’s.


    • Joanna, you would enjoy Margot’s book. It was such a page turner, I read it in one reading. With Margot’s heritage and detail, I’m sure this a very authentic protrayal of an aboriginal child’s life. Look forward to her sequel! Thank you for posting on FB and Twitter.


  3. Many thanks to all who commented above, and to Patricia for a review that has made my WEEK!! I have a sequel of sorts coming soon. It introduces the grandsons of Taconi and the Boss of Coorparoo Cattle Station, in a 21st century adventure that has Josh and Bindi (the 2 grandsons) battling to survive both the outback, their own cultural differences, and a mad Medicine Man that wants Josh dead. Title: Survival by Walkabout.

    Books for Kids – Manuscript Critiques


    • Margot, I’m glad you liked the review. Thanks for a peek at the next book. I really look forward to reading “Survival by Walkabout,” as it sounds like it’s filled with suspense and full of adventure Great title! – Pat


    • Niamh, I just love sharing gems like this. I love the coming of age story. There is a woman I followed on FB who has an organization that encourages mother’s to honor puberty with their daughters — a coming of age. Wish we saw more about this. And, thank you for sharing my review on twitter.


  4. Patricia, thank you SO much for the SUPER review. I pinned it on my Pinterest REVIEWS, GAP Books, and Margot’s New Books and Reviews. As well as all the Google+ and Facebook sites I am on. Twitter also!! YEA!!!

    Would you please put your review on its Amazon page – it is available on Kindle as well as soft cover. This is the link:


    Margot – thrilled to bits!!



    • Margot, I normally post my reviews on Amazon, B&N and Goodreads. Also published among my friends on FB and Twitter. And some of my friends have also posted to their twitter accounts. It’s an exciting book with so many different messages. So glad you are happy! 🙂


  5. That big blue background on the cover doesn’t grab me, but the book does sound very intriguing, Pat. I love books that work in the language in a fluid, understandable way. Funny, my folks have an Australian shepherd, and I had to readjust my first association with the word “Aussie” as I read this. I’m very curious about the movie now, too.


    • Thanks for your kind words. Another one of my books you might all enjoy is The Revenge of Thelma Hill ( on Kindle ). Thelma is a ghost, and as I wrote the story, about twins moving to Oregon with their dad, I began to realize the ghost felt really familiar. Then it hit me – I was basing the ghost on my dear Mum. So I thought, what the heck, Mum would love being a featured character in a book of mine. So I went ahead and even gave her Mum’s name – Thelma Hill!
      Mum was like Thelma, warm, loving, wise, and determined. She also hated seeing anyone get away with doing wrong.

      Books for Kids – Manuscript Critiques


    • Erik, yes I think she’s an excellent author too. Her middle grade books are very good. Glad you liked the book and learning about the Aboriginal people. I believe Mrs. Finke wrote you a comment here about her latest book.


  6. Hey, did you know I was doing a Webinar tomorrow ( 11am pacific time – 2pm Eastern) on “How to Edit Your children’s Book” If any of you are interested, REGISTER here:
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