Mona Anderson wrote A River Rules My Life about her life as high country farmer in New Zealand. It was a publishing phenomenon in its day (in New Zealand, that is), bringing the high country of the South Island to the attention of many urban New Zealanders. I recall reading it as a teenager, and being fascinated by her story.
Home is the High Country recounts six stories of Anderson’s encounters with animals during her many years living in the high country. She has an eye for detail, and for humour, and the stories are endearing without being sentimental. Anderson includes stories about pets and other animals dying – not with grim detail, but with straightforward language that doesn’t attempt to sanitize the natural world. Some stories had me laughing out loud, and others gasping with astonishment, such as the chapter about Ozwega the muscovy duck, who was reared by Blue Boy the cat.
This book is for reading aloud to slightly older children, or for slightly older children again to read for themselves. It was first published in 1979, and reprinted in 2003.