Pete and the Persian Bottle

Pete and the Persian Bottle – What’s it all about?

  1. Front cover

Pete and the Persian Bottle is the story of nine-year-old Peter (Pete) Bartlett, an average boy, whose biggest wish is to stand out in a crowd, and not feel like the world’s biggest loser anymore.

While scavenging for go-cart parts in a rubbish skip, Pete comes across a curious looking bottle. When he opens the bottle, he releases a long-trapped genie. Eager to get his three wishes, Pete pushes the genie into making him special. The genie turns Pete into a rat, and then, after being frightened by noises from the computer, disappears out the window.

Pete must find a way to convince his friends that he is real and not just a rat. He and his friends then need to enlist the help of new Muslim student, Naseem, locate the missing genie and come up with a plan to set everything right, all the while avoiding lizards, dogs, cats, adults and the local thugs. (Reviews at the bottom of the page).

DOWNLOAD THE FIRST CHAPTER FOR FREE: “Pete & The Persian Bottle” Chapter 1

Meet the gang!

Peter (Pete) Bartlet:

Rat/Pete is nine years old. He lives with his mum in a house to the west side of the park. He is pretty short for his height, gangly, medium brown hair, green eyes, slightly spotty complexion. When he is turned into a rat he is slightly bigger than a normal rat, is a white, short furred, with green eyes.

Tom Finlayson:m

Tom is 10 years old, average height, thin build, sandy blond hair, blue eyes. He is a rather handsome looking lad, whose hair falls over his eys a little too much. He is an average student, not particularly good at sport, except for skate boarding. Tom’s father is the manager of the hardware store, Tom’s mother does part time secretarial at the Real estate agent. He has a sister, Betsy, who is seven.

Steve Smith:

Steve is one of Pete’s  best friends. He is also 9. He is a local Aboriginal boy who is of a very solid build – tall and strong, not fat. He is very good at sport, but not so good at School. The bullies don’t mess with Steve because of his size, so he is a good friend to have. He wants to be a football player like Jonathan Thrust. Steve’s mother died from lung cancer when he was five. He lives with his many aunties, and his father, who drives the tourist bus from the coast to the centre and back.

Cynthia Browning:

Cynthia is 9. She has been accelerated a year at School and is very bright. She is an Aboriginal girl and is quite shy. She is small, skinny, with thick dark curly hair to her shoulders,and big brown eyes. She is good at athletics but doesn’t talk much about it. She lives with her mum on Forth Avenue. Her mother is the Manager of the RSL. They don’t have a lot of money but do alright. Her dad left her mum when she was little. He lives in Mackay but doesn’t see her at all.

Naseem Ahmet:

Naseem (His first name is actually Mohammad – but doesn’t call himself that, because it would be confusing as that is his dad’s name as well) has been living in Australia for 3 years. He is originally from Iraq. He has light olive skin, dark slightly curly hair, light brown eyes, slim build and is average height. His family have moved to Boney Ridge under a refugee program. He has cousins in Sydney, who have been in Australia most of their lives. He is an okay student and a very good cricket player. He likes computer games and sport. He speaks English well, and also speaks his native language Farsi. His father works at the railway yard, checking and loading the trains, and his mother works part time at the hospital as a nursing assistant.

Rachael Pinter:

Rachael is 9 and a half. She has long red hair (very red) and very pale skin. She is tall for her Rachaelage and average build. She is very smart, good at netball, and reads a lot. She is popular at School. Her best friend is Cynthia. She is the daughter of the Police Seargent, and lives in a house on the corner of Main and Third, behind the police station. Her mother works part time at the local department store (which is nothing like a city department store – more like a big two storey shop which sells a bit of everything)


Farouk is the Genie (Or Djinn). He has a bluish-green complexion, can be either thin or pudgy Bottledepending on how he feels. He doesn’t have legs as such and has a kind of tail. He can become solid (when he is sting sweets) but is usually a little more transparent and smoke-like. He is very scared, a bit grumpy and jumpy. Speaks very little English but he has picked up some basics from merchants trading in Persia. He speaks Farsi but very formally. He has not been out of his bottle for about 200 years. He likes sweets, particularly traditional rose water Turkish delight, pistachio nuts and dried fruit.

A little about Boney Ridge?

Boney Ridge is a small town located in Central Queensland Australia. There is no McDonalds or KFC, in fact aside from the Chinese restaurant and the burger bar at The Royal Hotel there are no takeaways at all.

There are very few shops in Boney Ridge, just an average sized grocery store, hardware store where his dad work, a small country department store and saddlery, a combined newsagent, post office and book shop, a dress shop, pharmacy, and a farm machinery and car sales yard.

There are a couple of small businesses, and government offices, two banks, a real estate agent, where his mum worked, a library, an RSL club, 2 hotels, a caravan park, and a motor mechanic and scrap yard.

Boney Ridge has a small airstrip, a railway depot, from which cattle are transported to the city, a small hospital and medical centre. The town has both a primary and high school, which is a big deal for a small town



There are many myths and legends about genies. Genies are also know as D’jinn, or Jinn. In Muslim legend, a genie is defined as a spirit often capable of assuming human or animal form and exercising supernatural influence over people. Genies are said to be created in the same way as humans, except that they were born of smokeless fire and human were born of the earth.

Genies are believed to have the ability to take many forms and to change their appearance. For example, they can take a human form or an animal form, such as a cow, a snake, a bird, a black dog also referred to as the devil of the dogs.


It is suggested that genies are often trapped in bottles or lamps because some of them have the tendency to create chaos or ruin the lives of those they encounter.

When a person releases a genie from their bottle (or lamp) a genie is required to grant them three wishes (or at least this is what some stories suggest). Once the genie’s obligation has been fulfilled, they can become angry and vengeful about being locked up in the first place. Often a person who releases a genie will become their victim once their wishes are granted. Once out of their bottle or lamp, genies are notoriously difficult to put back.


There are both male and female genies, some are good, some are bad, and some are a bit of both (kind of like people really). Some genies fear humans too. They are generally very private and do like being uncovered.

Some suggest that there are three different types of Genie:

The Ghul. These are shape shifters who live in and like to defile graveyards
The Sila, which are spirits who can appear in any form to influence man
The Ifrit, which are evil spirits

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Review Elizabeth G, Mother of 2 boys, Melbourne, Australia: 5 stars – “Pete and the Persian Bottle” is a great read. I enjoyed following Pete and his friends on their rollicking adventure. The small country town was described beautifully as were all the colourful characters. It was well paced and great fun and the best thing…I enjoyed it as much as the kids!

Rating by Sabine S, Mother of 1 girl, BC, Canada: ***** A popular book among students in my daughter’s class.

Review by Sarah B, Mother of 1 girl, Brisbane, Australia: Pete and the Persian Bottle is a brand new adventure book for young readers, from Australian author, Sarah Jackson. The story revolves around the titular character, Pete, who is a small, nine-year-old boy who lives in Boney Ridge, a (fictional) rural town in South-Western Queensland in Australia. He lives with his parents, goes to school with his group of friends and he dreams of winning the upcoming Boney Ridge Regional Agricultural Show go-cart race. Everything changes when he rescues an old bottle from a neighbour’s rubbish bin and lets loose a real life genie. Pete, who would love to be someone ‘more’ than who he is, asks to be ‘special’ and this is his downfall. Pete is turned into a white rat! The story then follows Pete, in his rat form, and his friends as they try to locate the genie and try to convince him to return Pete to his normal self. This is a fun and enjoyable book and young readers, from whom it is written, would really enjoy the story and the characters. Some of the issues the characters’ deal with throughout the story relate to; having a lack of confidence, dissatisfaction with what we have, feeling helpless, and bullying. The characters resolve these issues by; problem solving, developing resilience, friendship, having a willingness to listen and learn, and learning gratitude. The fact that the setting is in a rural environment is a great part of the story which helps to inform and develop the characters. Pete and his group of friends are girls and boys from different cultural backgrounds. There are a few children of Anglo-Saxon descent, a couple of indigenous children and a new Australian, Naseem, a Muslim boy who is originally from Afghanistan. It is Naseem, their new friend, who has the knowledge to guide the children’s search for the genie. They’re all kids to whom the young readers could/ should be able to relate to. Pete is clearly a kid who likes to try and wants to be more than he is. There is a school bully who seems to pick on everyone smaller than him. Pete and the Persian Bottle is 90 pages in length. There is a good range of vocabulary for young readers and there are no difficult situations which require explanation by an adult. The value that friendship is given in book is a standout feature and something most readers will enjoy. Reading the book may also raise questions in young readers about the concepts of empathy and sympathy. ‘Pete and the Persian Bottle’ is a great book to read and enjoy for entertainment value but there are lessons to be learned as well. It’s a great book to read with children and to discuss or you could give this book to your child and just let them go!

Transcript of video review (10 year old British boy): “Its all about a boy who meets a genie and gets turned into a rat. Squeak squeak. And then he has to go and find his friends so that they can try and help him find the genie. And then to make him turn him back into a boy. But how will they do this? The answer is, well you have to read the book to find out. So what I always say is if you want it then get it.”

Review by Sara Reid, Australia, 2018: