Jack Lasenby

Uncle Trev and his Whistling Bull

It’s the 1930s. Our storyteller is crook in bed trying to get over a long sickness and wanting to go back to school, when Uncle Trev arrives to let Mum go out and do the shopping.

Uncle Trev tells one story after another about the animals out on his farm, and about his neighbour Gotta Henry. He also goes through Mum’s cupboards and helps himself to all her gingernut biscuits and Louise cake.

If you think Mum should be grateful to get out of the house, she’s not. When she comes home, she chases Uncle Trev and his dog, Old Tip, with her broom and threatens what she’ll do to ‘that man’ next time he comes in.


Gecko Press

Middle Grade Fiction

Original title: Uncle Trev and his Whistling Bull
Age 8+
208 pp
pb | 129 x 198 mm
Publication: 2012

Author: Jack Lasenby

All rights available


“Told in short chapters always ending with the mother’s return to the house and Uncle Trev’s hurried escape, this collection of absurd tales, written in a tongue-in-cheek voice, underlines the importance of the tradition of storytelling.” – White Ravens 2013

“There is a lot here to astonish the reader who has never really considered what country life was like for their great-grandparents in a pre-electrical, pre-digital, age. But also a lot to appreciate: the warmth and companionship of story-telling, and Mum’s cake tins which are always full of Louise cake, date scones, and gingernuts.” – Judges Report, New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, July 2013

“This is Lasenby at his warm, comic best, spinning terrific yarns and at the same time capturing for posterity a little of the old-time New Zealand.” – Best Books 2012, New Zealand Herald

His writing is predicated on a belief that although modern entertainment sates children’s hunger for stories, it fails to provide sustenance… Childhood is not idealised (pain is real and lessons are hard) but adventure abounds and the end is self-sufficiency and individual empowerment… Unfailingly entertaining… hilarious yarns.” – The Oxford Companian to New Zealand Literature

“Full of the mild anarchy of childhood … the humour is wonderfully daft.”- The Telegraph (UK)

“Wonder and amazement in every tale.” – Parents in Touch (UK)

By the same author and illustrator