Friday 8 April 2011

Head Spinners: six stories to twist your brain

Head Spinners: six stories to twist your brain by Thalia Kalkipsakis (Allen and Unwin)
PB RRP $15.99
ISBN 9781742373454
Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

Head Spinners is a collection of six short stories, each with a unique kind of twist. These fun tales are written for middle primary aged children who will relate to characters very much like themselves — to begin with anyway. Divided into short chapters, this page turner has humour, a bit of irony and a healthy dose of imagination.

Catchy titles include Tick-Tock Time Machine and Evil Eye. There are ghosts, out of body experiences, strange deformities of the body and things coming back to life. Sound interesting? There's certainly a lot in here to catch a kid's attention. The snappy writing and action packed chapters work together to sustain this attention until the twist is revealed at the end of the story. 

In each story there is a character (boy or girl) who seems quite normal, until something unusual arises. The character must then rise to the occasion in order to deal with this difficulty. Although adults are present in the stories it is the kids who are responsible for the turn of events. Ultimately, they learn something along the way.

The cover makes a statement with a dog wearing glasses in the  middle of a brightly coloured vortex. The tone of the writing is conversational and there's a smattering of science to make some of the situations seem more plausible. Suitable for both boys and girls, this combination of reality with a splash of fantasy will be a hit with even not-so-avid readers. 

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