Publication Date: October 11, 2011
Billy isn’t yet ready for his walkabout. It’s time for Billy to become a man. Becoming a man in Billy’s world involves a knife where it shouldn’t be and a lot of blood. Can the spirit of his mother help him through and help him prepare to find some girls? Tribal Scarring (Urban Hunters) is the second book in the Urban Hunters series.
The author, Gary Taaffe, gave me a copy of this short story in exchange for my review.
One of the best moments of my year was the one in which Alex realized that the picture on the cover was of a bare boy butt. She hadn’t really looked at it before and thought the boy in the picture was wearing a loincloth over brown pants. The horror in her 11-year-old face in the moment has me laughing as I type this. If only I’d had my phone and recorded the moment. She does understand that culturally Billy would only cover her front—as described in the first story—but seeing the implication was just too real.
Despite the levity of the moment with Alex, Tribal Scarring (Urban Hunters) was quite a serious work. Billy is still guided by his mother to leave his people and perpetuate his clan. In order to prepare himself, Billy must exhibit bravery and the willingness to know that sometimes you have to do the difficult things in the name of duty. Taaffe weaves culture, history and tradition into the narrative so that children (and adults) come away having been entertained, but with a new knowledge of an old culture.
The title Tribal Scarring (Urban Hunters) comes from when Billy is looking to provide for his family hunting kangaroos and one of them scratches him. The approach of Billy’s family to the wound is so separate from the modern reaction that is serves as a perfect example of something that takes a child out of their modern environment and to one that many North American children will never come close to experiencing.
Its clear that very soon Billy will be heading out to satisfy the path that his mother has dictated for him which will bring him into our world. Will children understand that our world is as foreign to Billy as his is to us? I’m sure they will, and I’m sure with Taaffe’s engaging style, they will mark the Urban Hunters series among their favorites.
Taaffe’s Tribal Scarring (Urban Hunters) is a wonderful action series for boys and girls who don’t mind a little grit in their stories.
Gary Taaffee lives in Australia and is a toolmaker by trade. He’s an avid hunter and fisherman and loves the outdoors. Taaffe’s Urban Hunter series currently stands at 7 books:
Four Small Stones: Billy’s Gotta Find Some Girls (Urban Hunters) (Volume 1) (click here to read my review), Tribal Scarring (Urban Hunters), Walkabout (Urban Hunters), Budgie Smugglers (Urban Hunters), Bullies: Billy’s Gotta Survive the City (Urban Hunters) (Volume 5), The Orphanage: Billy’s Gotta Survive the City (Urban Hunters) (Volume 6), Bowels of Hell (Urban Hunters).