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An extremely unusual offering from the author of Skellig, as this tale is part written story, part graphic novel. The artwork style works beautifully as the short story of Slog's Dad reveals itself before the readers eyes. It's touching, it has great tenderness and whilst the reader can doubt some of the tale , it leaves the reader hanging on tender hooks at the story's conclusion. Strange, unusual and yet tender as well as loving are all great words to sum up this different offering.
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on 11 February 2011
David Almond writes some wonderful and profound stories. His curious mix of magic and realism is found again in this story, which seems to be a classic example of his style.

The book is unusual though. It is a short story but it is illustrated like a graphic novel for much of it, and these illustrations curiously add a whole new dimension to the story I would otherwise have missed.

This is a beautiful book, and not one I could just put away in the attic. It is going on my bookshelf.

My primary criticism is its so short. It is a short story, and I read it during a lunch break, with time to spare. And even then I did look at the illustrations too!

Even at the Amazon reduced price (currently 6.74) this is quite a lot of money for a small story, so unless you are also inclined to keep sucj books on display somewhere, it might be better to check this one out of a library.
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on 27 May 2012
Alison for Big Book Little Book

I have mixed feelings about this book. Visually it is superb, the style very similar to `The Savage', another Almond and McKean collaboration and I book that I adored. I love that some pictures look almost photographic until you look at the faces. I love the mainly green undertones that make the other colours stand out all the more. For once I also like that the pictures stand alone, with the story they tell told in an almost storyboard fashion. It is through these pictures that you see Slog's pain at the death of his Dad, his hopes and dreams that one day he will return. This is made all the more poignant by the fact that the actual story is told by Davie, Slog's best friend. The story told in words, is slightly more detached, it's the pictures that give you an emotional context to the book.

It's the story I have mixed feelings about. I think I understand the intention, but I found certain element quite creepy. This man looks nothing like Slog's Dad and parts of Davie's story seem to imply he is just indeed a random man. I think that the intention is just to show how someone can do something nice for a grieving small boy. That they can give them the comfort of knowing that there is something better out there. But I found the notion that someone could pretend in that way quite disturbing. This is a book set around 50 years ago however so maybe I placing my own more modern conception of mistrust unfairly in this case.

This shouldn't take away from the fact that this is a very moving story that speaks very eloquently of love and loss.
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on 4 February 2012
I had this book left over from when I planed to do Death and Bereavement Month last year, which became a week event instead. This book really doesn't have me as the intended audience, because I simply didn't get it.

Story wise, I suppose it was kind of cute. Slog is convinced this homeless guy he sees is his dead Dad, though his best mate, Davie, thinks he's been taken in by this man and it's a packof lies. I finished it not knowing whether it actually was his Dad, or just a kind homeless man who wanted to help a grief-stricken kid. I'm not sure, but it was sweet.

However, this is a graphic novel, but not in the conventional sense. It's pages of illustration without any text, then pages of text without illustration. However, the illustrations don't seem to match the text, and although I made some guess that some of the illustrations were to do with Slog wanting his Dad back and pretending with toys, others, I had no idea what was going on. And it's really not my kind of art either. I didn't like them. Not my cup of tea at all.

So I would say the story would be better without the illustrations, but it's so short, without the illustrations, I can't see it being publishable. I just didn't really get this book as a whole package. Not written with me in mind. But some may like this unusal take on graphic novels and story-telling.
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on 8 February 2012
This book tells the tale of a boy called slog who is trying to get over the loss of his dad. It is a very short heart warming story with a strange layout of the most surreal and beautiful pictures by award winning artist Dave Mckean. The text is wonderfully written by Almond with an ending that leaves you guessing, but the beautiful illustrations i loved most helping to decipher the story and portrays the tale in a refreshing and strange way.
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on 6 February 2017
Very enjoyable book with a lovely story and even more amazing artwork from the ever excellent Dave McKean.
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on 18 May 2015
Amazing and touching story with beautiful graphics. Ideal for a class reader
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on 6 April 2016
My 10yr old loved it.pictures are graphic.
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on 11 August 2014
A superb story with awesome illustrations
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