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Monkey Boy by Donovan Bixley

June 9, 2014

scan0001Monkey Boy by Donovan Bixley. Pub. Scholastic, 2014. 

I have never read a children’s novel like this before. Well it is really part novel part comic book but it is a combination that works given the subject matter that it covers.

Jimmy Grimholt is the sort of boy you can relate to. He the youngest in  a family of 13,  his mother was a fish splitter and his father hunted whales in the Pacific. Jimmy was bullied by his older brothers and by anybody else that he encountered but his spirit was never broken. He is intelligent, fearless and has a sense of humour that is enviable. He has one quality that is both frightening and useful at the same time. he can see ghosts.

He is signed onto the warship Fury with all the other street scum and assigned the role of powder monkey, the boy who loads the cannon with powder during battle. On board ship life for him is no easier than it was on land but Jimmy is a survivor.

he encounters more bullies, ghosts demons and war in sickening doses. The war is against Napoleon’s navy in 1804 and the horrors of war are graphical told and illustrated.

Easy to read with excellent illustrations that cover large chunks of the action where they are really effective.

Not for the faint hearted. Intermediate and junior secondary boys who are reluctant readers will get the most from this book.

 

 

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