Sunday 30 September 2018

My Storee

My Storee by Paul Russell, illustrated by Aska (EK Books) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN 9781925335774 

Reviewed by Dianne Bates
To get published, a manuscript must pass the ‘gatekeepers’, those adults who assess the story, often looking for what is ideologically unsound. Should a book with incorrect spelling all through it, pass the test? Apparently, the publisher, EK Books agreed with the words on the cover of this book, ‘Just because you can’t spell doesn’t mean you can’t write’. Some adults, like this reviewer, believe that the words in a book help a child learn how to spell.

This quibble aside, this is a book which most children aged 5 to 8 years are likely to enjoy because they, like the book’s protagonist, struggle with spelling as they attempt to write stories. The boy in this book is kept awake because he knows ‘a grand adventur (sic) is always (sic) waiting four (sic) me at the end ov (sic) my pencil’. He imagines stories about dragons, his teacher being eaten by a ‘gruesome ogre’, detectives, robot, aliens and more. However, at school, he says, there are too many ‘riting (sic) rulz (sic)’ and with all the rules his imagination suffers. Teachers, he says, cover his writing with red pen and change his meanings with the result that at school he doesn’t like to write.’

A new teacher with new teaching methods is the solution to the boy’s problem. The last sentence in the book reads, ‘So I picked up my pencil and wrote.’

The illustrations in My Storee are colourful and joyous, filled with cartoon characters such as live pencils, surfing mice and unicorn detectives, so they are sure to be enjoyed by child readers.

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