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AMEP Research Centre

Paradise Beach

Paradise Beach
By Clare Harris
Published by NCELTR, Macquarie University

In the two years Luiza has lived in Australia, she has become good friends with her seventy-two year old neighbour, Mrs B. It is not until Mrs B's nephew, Brian, moves in to help after she broke her leg that strange things start to happen – beginning with the disappearance of Mrs B!

Paradise Beach is an interesting and well-written story with a few twists suitable for pre-intermediate readers. Largely written in the simple present and simple past tenses, with sketches illustrating the unfolding of events, the range of activities provided before and after the story are varied and suitable for the text and level. Before the story, the activities engage the reader through prediction, discussion and relevance to their lives. In the pre-reading activity the readers are advised to firstly look at all thirteen sketches throughout the book. This is an effective way to foster readers' interest and for them to gain an overview of the story. Post reading activities include comprehension of the story and vocabulary, as well as discussion concerning cultural differences regarding treatment of the elderly. An answer key is also provided.

The book comes with a clear, twenty-seven-minute audiotape or CD with slower-than-normal speech, making it suitable for individual or class use.

I particularly like the main theme, neighbours, as everyone seems to have an opinion about them, whether they are current or former neighbours. The oral exercises could be extended to written tasks such as writing opinions and recounts. Discussion and vocabulary work could also be done at the end of each of the fourteen chapters that comprise the story, rather than all at the end.

Paradise Beach is well deserving of winning first prize for the 2002 CLESOL Write A Reader Competition and would be especially suited for class use because of the discussion components.

Reviewed by Janice Davis TESOL to adults, Adult Multicultural Education Services (AMES) Victoria