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The Invisible Dog
The Invisible Dog
by Dick King-Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.79

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but not great, 1 Dec 2013
This review is from: The Invisible Dog (Paperback)
My 6-year-old son was lent this by his school as reading practice. He didn't particularly enjoy it, and neither did I -- the slightly heavy-handed hints at supernatural goings on, the predictable coincidences, all that was a substitute for genuinely imaginative writing. Basically it reads like reading practice rather than a "real" story, if that makes sense.


Beowulf
Beowulf
by Michael Morpurgo
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Annoying writing style, 25 April 2013
This review is from: Beowulf (Paperback)
I enjoyed reading the story to my son, but was constantly irritated by certain mannerisms in the way the book was written. Two stood out in particular: an excessive use of alliteration (as though he was playing a game where you scored a point every time you managed to have two consecutive words starting with the same letter, with extra points for three or more), and an even more excessive use of hyphenated phrases such as (to pick a random page and write down the ones I see) "sword-swipe", "wave-patterned", "iron-edged", "blood-greedy", "mail-shirt", "sea-hag", "water-wolf", "battle-coat". (Those all come from the double page spread on pages 50 and 51, and that was genuinely a random page that I opened the book at.) There are also some sentences that should never have made it past an editor, such as, "Pinioned and helpless in her grasp, the sea-hag dragged the prince to her cavernous lair." Is the sea-hag pinioned in her own grasp? The phrase "cavernous lair" also gives some idea of just how many adjectives there are: nouns on their own just won't cut it for Morpurgo.

I did wonder whether the original poem has a style that Morpurgo is trying to imitate. Unfortunately, my Anglo-Saxon is non-existent, so I cannot tell. It reads to me as though he is trying to be far too self-consciously poetic.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 24, 2014 10:46 AM BST


The Incredible Book Eating Boy
The Incredible Book Eating Boy
by Oliver Jeffers
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Good but with one flaw, 15 Nov 2011
I saw this book recommended in a list of ten great children's books by someone in the Guardian. I liked the sound of it, so I bought it for my son's 4th birthday. It has been a great success so far -- I'm required to read it about twice a day and he laughs out loud at various points. There is plenty of humour in the details of the illustrations, and the story is a welcome antidote to some of the utterly wet children's books there are around.

So what's the flaw? Late on in the story, Henry, the boy of the title, picks up a half-eaten book and starts to read it. When he picks it up, it has a bite out of the corner at the top of the spine, but on the next page, after he has opened it, the bite has moved to the opposite top corner (so that after opening there are bits missing from two corners). In other words, there is a continuity error. I can't help feeling disappointed that after his great attention to detail Oliver Jeffers should have made an elementary mistake like that, and that his editor didn't pick him up on it. Obviously this is a minor matter compared with the merits of the book and its illustrations, but I can't help being bugged by it.

It doesn't stop me giving it five stars though. My son loves it and I enjoy reading it to him, which is more than I can say for a lot of modern children's books.


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