Tuesday 18 February 2014

Stories for Boys

Stories for Boys a selection of stories by Australian authors, illustrated by Tony Flowers (Random House Australia Children’s)
PB RRP $14.95
ISBN 9780857980885
Ebook ISBN: 9780857980892
Reviewed by Marian McGuinness

Keeping up the pace and excitement, but this time for six to eight year old boys, is this fine and funny anthology from another twelve fabulous Aussie authors. And they know the stuff that will engage our boys with fabulous adventures featuring: ghosts, robots, jellyfish, lice and terror-dactyls.

As well as some of the authors from the ‘girls’ series, there are offerings from: Bill Condon, Tristan Bancks, Nick Falk, Aleesah Darlison, Celeste Walters and Sophie Masson.

Some stories are written in past tense, some present tense. There are short, accessible sentences with simple words, others with doozies thrown in for good measure, like ‘follicle’ and ‘realm’. There are great similes, ‘rain hammers on the roof like bullets’ and ear-wrenching onomatopoeia where ‘lightning crackles … doors creeeeak and thunder rumbles’. Each story uses a wealth of literary techniques to subliminally encourage readers to create and colour their own stories.

Plot and character are the main focus and there are plenty to choose from. There’s Tom who visits his pop in a nursing home. The thing is, his pop hates kids. Tom has a problem.

What happens when Jack wishes that his mum were an octopus – a riotous romp of tentacle fun ensues. Or perhaps you’d prefer the story set on a space station where giant jellyfish roam, or something closer to home, Sophie Masson’s romp in the Possum in the Roof.

And then there’s the hilarious story of Ferdie the frog who goes to market in a box of lettuces. Celeste Walters delights with her rhythmic and imagery-filled writing when ‘fat hands and thin hands and bodies with trolleys were pushing and shoving and pawing and pouncing’ as Ferdie goes on his adventure around the supermarket. The end result is that all readers will want a frog like Ferdie.

With the animated, boyish illustrations by internationally acclaimed artist, Tony Flowers (illustrator of the Saurus Street series), along with the perfect-sized font and plenty of white space in format, Stories for Boys, is a great addition to the bedside table.

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