Joy Cowley



Dunger is a highly readable novel from New Zealand’s beloved Joy Cowley.

William and Melissa have been roped into helping their old hippie grandparents fix up their holiday home in the middle of the Sounds. They’ll have no electricity, no cellphone reception, and only each other for company. As far as they’re concerned, this is not a holiday.

Dunger is the winner of multiple awards, including the junior fiction category of the NZ Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, 2014. This book is suitable for boys and girls ages 10 to 14. Chapters are told in the alternating viewpoints of William and Melissa.

Gecko Press

Children’s Fiction | Middle Grade

Original title: Dunger
Age 10+
156 pp
pb | 156 x 198 mm
Publication: 2013

Author: Joy Cowley

Rights sold: Chinese (simpl.), Korean, Turkish


“Utterly charming and engaging … I fell in love with the family … A great holiday read to share, read aloud, or pass around.” – The Alligator’s Mouth (UK), Feb 2015

“A great little story this from one of New Zealand’s most gifted children’s writers … The grand parents are brilliant and the ending produces some real drama. Great read-a-loud for primary and Intermediate students.” – Bob’s Books Blog (NZ), July 2014

“Dry, droll and never dull … rich and deep. This is what our ordinary lives are like. manages to give us pride in ourselves and also makes us laugh at ourselves. The richness of the deceptively simple design is absolutely true to the spirit of this quintessentially New Zealand story. Congratulations to Joy Cowley for Dunger.” – Judges’ Report, New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, June 2014

“This is a gem… Joy Cowley nailed this one, five stars for sure… Told alternatively by Will and Melissa, you see their confidence, character and relationship develop as they explore a very precious and beautiful part of New Zealand.” – School Library Association NZ Aotearoa Magazine, December 2013

“Hilarious and endearing.” – The NZ Listener 50 Best Children’s Books of 2013, November 2013

“An excellent read, laced with humour, irony and written using such excellent imagery … A great book for both kids and adults alike, Dunger will be loved by people of all ages. The characters are vivid and lovable, and readers will find themselves wishing that this book went on long after the last page.” – Booksellers We Love Books Blog, October 2013

“A warm and funny story about family relationships and a great read-aloud for age 8+.” – The Children’s Bookshop Newsletter, October 2013

“A warm and funny tale of self-sufficiency and relationships. Age 10+.” – The Children’s Bookshop (NZ), May 2014


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