Saturday 8 August 2015

The Big Wish

The Big Wish by Brandon Robshaw (Chicken House for Scholastic)
PB RRP $15.99
ISBN 978-1-908435-89-7

Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

When Sam’s wish for a million wishes comes true he thinks all his problems will be solved. But it’s not quite that simple. Sam is an intelligent kid who knows all about side effects - when he wishes to be a giant he’s careful to add that his clothes need to grow too and when he wishes for zero gravity in his room he wishes for only him, not his furniture, to be affected. But even taking this into account things don’t always go to plan.
At first wishing is fun. He helps out his friends and family, closes school for a day, even sorts out the school bully. But then he begins to realise something. What do you give a kid who has it all? Sam soon learns that when you can just wish for something, when it takes no effort at all, life can become pretty boring and meaningless. So Sam starts to go global. But the bigger the wish is, the more complicated the results are.  How can things go so wrong when he is only trying to help out the world!
This is an entertaining and interesting story. It is the ultimate ‘what-if’ scenario which I’m sure most children have run though in their heads. And although it is resolved well for Sam, it leaves plenty of scope for every reader to explore further.
I found it surprising too. It didn’t go in the direction I thought it would which was very refreshing. It was fun and logical and as down to earth as a story about a boy with a millions wishes could be.
Sam was a great character. The story was written in first person, from his perspective, and while Sam came across as solid and real, the others – his family, friend Evan and bully Scorpus – where not as well built and were more cartoonish. But this worked really well within the context of the story. With Sam manipulating events, all other people in the book actually felt like chess pieces being moved around a board and this interesting effect emphasised Sam’s dilemma.
The Big Wish is a fun and imaginative story for 8-12 year olds. It will make them think and wonder, what if...

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