Review: The Boy Who Swam With Piranhas

by Ross Grainger
by Ross Grainger

A fun-filled feeding frenzy: The Boy Who Swam With Piranhas by David Almond

Welcome to the fantastical world of Stanley Potts, an ordinary boy in an ordinary town, cared for by his ordinary aunt and uncle. Well, that last part’s not quite accurate. Stan’s uncle was normal until the shipyard closed. Now, as The Boy Who Swam With Piranhas opens, we learn that his mind has gone to sleep with the fishes. To remake the family fortune he becomes a half-mad manufacturer of tinned fish. Pilchards to start with, and then sardines, mackerel and, finally, terribly —
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Review: Pinocchio

by Ross Grainger
by Ross Grainger

Say you don’t like this book and your nose will grow: Pinocchio by Michael Morpurgo

Michael Morpurgo turned 70 last year, a birthday shared by the cartoon version of his latest delightful read, Pinocchio. The original Pinocchio was created more than 50 years earlier in Italy by Carlo Collodi. The trouble is that in both the original story and the Disney version we don’t get Pinocchio‘s side of the story. That’s where Morpurgo comes in.
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Review: Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse

by Ross Grainger
by Ross Grainger

Almost Gothic: Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell

As one might expect from a book written by a political cartoonist, Chris Riddell’s Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse is packed with puns and awash with wit. The drawings, too, are of the highest quality. Young Ada Goth’s brave adventures in the vast mansion of her father, Lord Goth, will make children ooh and adults ha. Be warned, though: the blizzard of characters, the raft of references and the deluge of deft jokes can make you feel as if you’re in a complex network of paths and corn rows. That is, in a maize…
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Review: Geek Girl

by Ross Grainger
by Ross Grainger

A model of teen fiction.

 

Meet Harriet Manners, “15 years and three twelfths old” and ready to –

Wait! Couldn’t ‘three twelfths’ be simplified to one quarter? Indeed – that’s the spirit! For Harriet Manners is a geek, you see, fond of palaeontology, Pythagorus and punctuality; “a polar bear in a rainforest.” more “Review: Geek Girl”

Review: Fortunately, The Milk…

by Ross Grainger
by Ross Grainger

A bit off: Fortunately, the Milk… by Neil Gaiman

In my final year of high school in the United States I was in a production of Samuel Beckett’s two-act existential masterpiece Waiting for Godot. Cynics and fans alike describe it as a play in which “nothing happens – twice.” Beckett gives the occasional nod to this strap line; at one point Estragon, one of the two men waiting for the eponymous hero, says, “Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It’s awful.” (Legend has it that when the play was first staged in London a gentleman in the audience greeted this line with, “Hear! Hear!”)
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Review: Snow, White

by Emma Sewell
by Emma Sewell

This is not a fairy tale. This is a horror story.

 

Every fairy tale has a grain of truth, you just have to look for it.

John Creed starts his mornings like many young boys, paper route at the local newsagents, off to school, tries to duck the school bully on his way home. But he isn’t like those other young boys. more “Review: Snow, White”

Review: Fish-Head Steve!

by Ross Grainger
by Ross Grainger

Smart, mad, hilarious: Fish-Head Steve! by Jamie Smart

There’s something fishy going on in Spumville. Our hero, Steve, wakes up one morning with a fish for a head! His dad’s noggin has turned into a toilet! His sister’s noodle is a cat! And his best mate Cowboy has caught the cranium of a cow! Cripes alive! What in the name of copious cow manure is going on?!
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