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Posted by raquelff under The Sugar Glider

This is what my students Cristina González and Sara Larrea have done about the book they had to read.

Thank you for this wonderful presentation.

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These comments on The Sugar Glider have been chosen by my students themselves. Thank you to all of you for collaborating, first by writing the comments and secondly by choosing the ones that most appealed to you.

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“The Sugar Glider” by Rod Neilsen is an exciting adventure book which is set in Australia. In this story a pilot comes back to Australia, because he wants to recover his wife and to spend more time with his daughter. But, when he arrives, a friend offers him a strange job, to take a mysterious cargo from Brisbane to Melbourne.

After one year working in the Pacific Islands with his new small two-seater, pilot Don Radcliffe decides to return to Australia to see his wife and his daughter. When he arrives, his pilot friend Paul Copeman suggests he fly an old DC4, called “The Sugar Glider”, to the Melbourne air museum making a stop on the way in a mine to pick some things up for the Government. To spend more time with his daughter, these three characters start an exciting trip. When they land near Warrangi Mine, some workers put several boxes and containers in the plane as they fill up the fuel tanks. While they are in that place, Murri people are demonstrating because Warrangi Mine belongs to them and not to the British. After that, they continue their trip but Don changes the flight plan that Paul had prepared before. Consequently, they cross the mountains instead of following the previous route. An hour and a half later, the engines stop working and they can’t control the plane. The Sugar Glider crashes and Paul dies. Don discovers that it wasn’t an accident because in the petrol tanks there isn’t the right fuel for the plane and in the boxes there is Uranium. So he starts to think that this isn’t a Government job. Don and his daughter have to try to return to Brisbane, but perhaps they might have problems with the people that want the Uranium.

The main characters in this story are:

Don Radcliffe is a pilot who returns to Brisbane hoping to rescue a failed marriage and to spend more time with his daughter. He has worked in the Pacific Islands for one year with his new two-seater.

Judy Radcliffe is the fourteen years old daughter of Don Radcliffe who lives in a farm with her mother. She is very intelligent and brave, because she is the kind of girl who is willing to take risks.

Sylvia is Don’s ex-wife. She has a relationship with Patrick Forsha.

Paul Copeman is Don’s pilot friend. He is in his late fifties, with white hair and a red face. To retire and start a flying school he needs money so he accepts the mission to fly an old DC4, called “The Sugar Glider”, to the Melbourne air museum making a stop on the way in Warrangi Mine to pick some things up for the Government.

Beulah Copeman is Paul’s wife.

Patrick Forsha is a tall business man with shiny black hair. He started a relationship with Sylvia 6 months ago.

John Fittock is a sheep farmer in Tarong. Judy asks him if he can help them when they are lost in the mountains.

Joe is a Murri boy who helps Judy and Don.

Carl Petersen is a tall thin man about thirty-five years old that offers the job to Paul. He works for Mr. F but he says that he works for the Government.

Curiously, I have never heard or seen any sugar glider, which is an amazing little animal native to Australia. It has taken its name from its ability to glide through the air and its love of sweet things such as sugar. Sugar gliders are small creatures with a shiny grey-silver coat. They are around 40 centimeters long from nose to tail and weigh just 50 grams. They can move about very efficiently from tree to tree, and glide through the air.

It is very original that this exotic animal gives its name to the old DC4 which has a black line down its body like this creature.

I believe that this book is worth reading because it is fascinating and entertaining. I enjoyed it very much, although it is sometimes a bit predictable. My favorite chapter of this book is Brumbies because it describes how Judy captured and tamed two of these wild horses. It is very surprising that a fourteen year old girl is able to ride a wild horse.

The saddest thing about this book is Paul’s death. I think it destroys Paul’s dream to set up a flying school.

In my opinion, “The Sugar Glider” is the best story written in English I have ever read before, so I recommend you read it.

By Natalia Vega   2IF


Cambridge University Press is respected worldwide for its commitment to advancing knowledge, education, learning, and research. The Sugar Glider by Rod Neilsen has been published by Cambridge University Press ELT (English Language Teaching), a branch of the former, established in the mid 1970s and dedicated to teaching English throughout the world.

The book The Sugar Glider by Rod Neilsen comes under the genre of action/adventure. There are several elements of this genre that make this sort of story appealing. There is always a likeable hero, usually a male, and an unlikeable antagonist, or villain. The hero usually follows a moral code and uses his skills to extricate himself and those with him from dangerous situations. On the contrary, the villain has no moral code, and is almost always outside the law, using his/her skills to thwart everything the hero does. This character loves being bad.

In our case, the protagonist (and hero) is a pilot Don Radcliffe who comes home to his family after being away for a year. He hopes it is not too late to save his failed marriage, and is also looking forward to spending time with his daughter Judy. The villain is a businessman called Patrick Forsha who owns a building company and is in love with Don´s ex-wife.

Another important element in the action/adventure genre is the physical action. The characters are placed in extreme situations. In The Sugar Glider the plane being flown by Don and his friend Paul Copeman crashes in the Australian Outback killing the co-pilot. From this point on, father and daughter get involved in a fast paced survival adventure that will make them come closer.

Some of the most relevant themes this book touches upon while it unravels include: greed, environmental awareness, the Murri people (indigenous Australians that traditionally occupied most of modern-day Queensland) and family values.

In conclusion, I would recommend this book for what it is, a tool to learn English. It has some interesting vocabulary to review and at the same time it reinforces the grammar studied in class. On the contrary, if I were to review this book as a piece of fiction, I would say that the plot is predictable and the characters are quite plain and not very well developed.

Maria Tamargo   2IF


Posted by alisonrag under The Sugar Glider


“The Sugar Glider”, that is the title of the book I am going to try to describe. It was written by Rod Neilsen. We can  say that it is an adventure book, but furthermore it suggests other thoughts.

The story takes place in Australia. This is a huge and sometimes extremely severe country, which is very well described in the book. I think this description is one of the most important reasons that the author had to write this story.

The main plot rotates around innocence and how people can be taken in by a selfish and hypocritical man.

Fortunately the book also speaks to us about how mankind can overcome an extremely difficult situation with valour, courage and the ability we have to know our own land. This makes me think about the importance of  belonging to one place and how important the mixture is between man and nature. In addition the author tells us with his story, that if you know, if you understand those things; the land will give you all you need to survive.

In conclusion, it is a good story and the themes the book touches on are interesting enough to spend your time reading it. I also think, it is easy to read, so it is a good opportunity to improve your English and altogether to make you pay attention to the plot.

But personally, I believe, the main reason to read this book is because Rod Neilsen gives us his opinions about love, nature, environment and over all his own country, Australia, through his fluent script. 

Iván Martínez 2IF

“The Sugar Glider”

Posted by alisonrag under The Sugar Glider


The author of this book is Rod Neilsen, the editor is Philip Prowse and the edition is Cambridge University Press.

The genre of this book is adventure.

The plot; it´s about a pilot who returns to his country, hoping to rescue his past life with his ex-wife and his daughter, but when he goes on his last cargo flight with his daughter and his best friend, everything turns into a tragedy, because the plane crashes and his friend dies. He and his daughter have to survive and find the person responsible for all this.

The main character is Don Radcliffe who is the pilot, and the other characters are his daughter Judy, his best friend Paul Copeman, his ex-wife Sylvia and her boyfriend Patrick Forsha.
In this book, one person out of these characters isn´t who he says, he is.

In conclusion, I think that this book is well worth reading and I recommend it, because it´s easy to read and entertaining.
We must add this book to our collection.

Eva Brea

2I F

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The Sugar Glider  by Rod Nielsen is an adventure book, as you read it you’ll learn some facts about Australia.

Once you’ve read the book choose one question from each of the groups below and send/give your answers to your teacher. Some of them will be published here. Personal opinions will be welcome, too.

Group 1

1.     Write about Paul and Don’s relationship focusing on the similarities and differences between both characters.

2.     What’s the relationship between Don and Sylvia like? How does it change from the beginning to the end of this story? What do you think it will be like in the future?

Group 2

3.     Who has been your favourite character in this story? Give reason for your answer, including a description of that character.

4.     Which character have you liked the least? Give reason for your answer including a description of the character.

Group 3

5.     Judy proves to be a very brave girl during the story. Why?

6.     Write a different ending to the story.

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