The Big Dig Is Not About …

* filling in a backyard pool with cement so you can have a bigger yard to play in.

* a boy who wins a backyard pool in the Westpac Maths Competition but has to pay for his own fence so he sells the cement his father has left in the shed which was supposed to be used for the driveway.

* a boy whose fence is too small for his pool so he has to put it down the middle but it all works out well because it means he has half the pool and his annoying sister has the other half.

* a boy who builds a solid cement wall around his pool, like a castle, with turrets.

* a boy who tries to dig his own pool but it’s too expensive and there are too many stupid rules so instead he decides to focus on studying maths.

Though I have to say, I like your style, all of you!

Of the suggestions I received, Max, aged 11, was the closest, with:

* “Maybe some boys (is it Nathan and Weasel again?) try to dig a pool in their backyard (probably Ronnie so they don’t wreck their own yards) but they don’t have enough money for all the cement and plus they get in trouble or something. I can’t work out how it ends though. I hope I’m right.”

Max, you are not quite right but you are the rightest. Yes, it’s our old friends, Nathan, Ronnie and Weasel, and they do try to dig a pool and there is some wrecking and some trouble and some headfirst diving into rapidly setting cement off a broken plank of wood. I’m not surprised that you can’t work out how it ends; I had a fair amount of trouble with that too.

That’s all I’m going to tell you for now, but Max, if you send me your address (ask your parents if it’s okay first), I’ll send you a copy of the book as soon as I get one (probably June). The rest of you will find it on the shelves in shops and libraries some time in July. Once I have a final cover image, I’ll add a new page in the ‘Books’ section on this site and you can check out more details there.

One final thought – I find it intriguing that somehow, all of you, even the girls, thought the story must be about boys. Is it because of the title? Does it sound more like a ‘boy book’ to you because it involves digging? Or is it the ‘bigness’? Interesting.

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