three quick reviews | David Almond


What do you get when you cross a frog with a rabbit? A bunny ribbit. So, what do you get when you bring ten children’s writers together and ask them to write a book for Amnesty International? Click. Brought together by an opening chapter from Linda Sue Park and her characters (Maggie and Jason, the grandchildren of photo-journalist George ‘Gee’ Keane) nine writers were asked to bring the story forward. David Almond, Eoin Colfer, Deborah Ellis, Roddy Doyle, Nick Hornby, Tim Wynne Jones, Ruth Ozeki, Margo Lanagan and Gregory Maguire all follow suit with a chapter that each follows a different character related to Gee. A jump novel has got to be a great challenge for a group of writers - to move the story along enough to keep the reader interested without making things too difficlut for the next writer. One worth reading - especially for Roddy Doyle’s Dublin snap shot.

My Dad’s a Birdman

How does the saying go: If you want something done, ask a busy person? There can’t be anyone busier than David Almond. Last year he published three books (I think), including Clay, which is sitting by the bed waiting to be read, Kate, The Cat and The Moon and My Dad’s A Birdman. - I wonder if he’d do my homework too…

My Dad’s A Birdman is illustrated by Polly Dunbar, who delivers amazing pictures of birds (of all kinds), interfereing aunts, dumplings and flying machines. The marriage between the images and text is great - even before you read the first word of the story Dunbar’s illustrations and the circus text let you know that something spectacular is coming. Go on, have a read.


There is something very special about going back to a book nearly ten years after you read it first - the emotion behind the words is given a deeper nostalgic meaning. Skellig, David Almond’s first novel, doesn’t need my extra emotional weight on top of the already laden pages. Even in the first reading there is something familiar about this book, finding an old friend, that makes it worthy of so much praise. There isn’t much I can say about Skellig that hasn’t already been said - it is an intense read that pulls you in quietly. There are friends, threats and one or two other surprises but it’s not my place to reveal any of them…

The book was listed as one of the ten most important children’s novels of the past 70 years in 2007 and the film adaptation is due out later this year according to IMDB. Read this one before the movie.

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