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What Not to do if you turn Invisible by Ross Welford.

February 21, 2017 Comments off

turn-invisibleWhat Not to do if you turn Invisible by Ross Welford. Pub. HarperCollins, 2017.

One of the funniest and most interesting children’s novels I have read for some time. It is for pre – teens and teens and once you start you will not put it down.

Thirteen year old Ethel lives in the North of England with her Gram. Her mother died when she was three and her father left in mysterious circumstances and Gram has never talked to her about it. Ethel is going to find out who and what they were in bizarre circumstances that involve trying to find a cure for her facial acne.

The combination of an on-line purchase of a Chinese remedy and a sunbed cause Ethel to become invisible. She is however only invisible when naked. She panics of course and has various absurd situations that will crack you up.

Then on a visit to her 100 year old great grandmother the old dear calls her Tiger Pussy. Who or what is Tiger Pussy? Well you are going to find out if you read the book.The mystery deepens with the visit of a man who smells of cigarettes and the discovery of a tin box with newspaper articles about an Amy Winehouse type pop singer called Felina. This will rattle Ethel’s cage at a time when her invisibility is causing problems.

Brilliantly written in three parts with 96 short chapters, this novel goes along at a rate of knots that will thrill you. There are sub plots involving bullying from twin brother and sister Jarrow and Jesmond Knight that will make you angry and gleeful at the same time. Ethel’s friend Boydy a cockney living in geordie country is a revelation, but the character of the book is Gram who is full of old fashioned wisdom and says things like “it is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt”

A very satisfying read.

The Pirates and the Nightmaker by James Norcliffe.

February 4, 2015 Comments off

pirates nightmakerThe Pirates and the Nightmaker by James Norcliffe. Pub. Longacre, 2015.

After I had read James Norcliffe’s two novels about the Loblolly Boy I wondered how the Loblolly Boy had come into existence, who was the mysterious Captain Bass and what was the significance of the astrolabe.

If you are of the same mind read this latest novel and find out. Even if you are not this novel is quite fascinating and once you start it will draw you in and keep you hanging on till the story is told.

It is set in the Caribbean on the Spanish Main at a time when everybody was a pirate of some description whether you worked for the British, the Spanish or the French. Treasure was what mattered but in this case the astrolabe is the prize.

The War of Jenkins Ear between Spanish and British has occurred and the Spanish have beaten the British from their stronghold in the port fortress of Cartagena. I have been to Cartagena and you still have to watch your back. It was also the setting for the crocodile scene in the film Romancing the Stone.

Just about every character is a villain and the only innocents are the Loblolly Boy and the daughter of a female pirate captain, Sophie. Sophie can see the Loblolly Boy and only sensitives can. A ruthless sorceror from the netherworld called Mr Wicker has turned a young boy into the Loblolly Boy for his own ends. The Loblolly Boy is invisible to most mortals, is unaffected by weather, never eats and can fly.

The aim of Wicker is to reclaim the astrolabe from Cartagena because the astrolabe has the power to turn night into day and day into night while this occurs great mischief can be done.

The real star of this book is the storytelling power of James Norcliffe and the language that he uses. Norcliffe is not only a teller of great stories he is a wordsmith. His imagery, dialogue and description is outstanding.

Read it yourself. The ending is a big surprise.

For good primary and intermediate readers and secondary readers will go for it too.