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Wednesday Book Review: The Ribbajack July 15, 2009

Posted by kmcalear in Book Review, Children Books, Fantasy, Young Adult.
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Genre:  Short Story/Mild Fantasy/Spooky

Age: Adolescent/Young Adult

Content: mild violence, mild romance, mild scares

Overall:  Buy or borrow

I really enjoyed The Ribbajack, both because Brian Jacques is one of my favorite authors and because the short stories are engaging and easy to read. Most of them have some sort of classic moral or didactic purpose to them which shows they’re classic cautionary tales with an interesting twist on them. They range from “the Ribbajack”, which is a cautionary tale about the danger of revenge, to “The Mystery of Huma D’Este” where a bully gets his comeuppance and “Rosie’s Pet” where a girl only learns to behave once she becomes a werewolf. The stories touch on themes children will face from bullying, abuse, and disobeying parents. The language is very regional British, which may give trouble to some readers, but the book would be a delight to read out loud. I think the tales would also be great fresh stories for any storytellers to use.

From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8-Jacques offers six original ghost stories to follow up on Seven Strange and Ghostly Tales (Putnam, 1991). The title story is more grotesque than scary, and the ghost in “A Smile and a Wave” is inexplicably evil, existing only to scare the main character into wearing her detested coat. The most satisfying selections are “Miggy Mags and the Malabar Sailor,” in which a mongoose champions a young girl against her abusive uncle, and “Rosie’s Pet,” a preadolescent werewolf love story. The heavy northern English dialect used in the tellings would work well in an audio book, but may deter some readers. While this is an acceptable addition to general collections, true fans of the scary and strange will find more satisfaction in the short-story collections by Australian writer Paul Jennings, such as Unreal! (Formac, 1992).
Farida S. Dowler, formerly at Bellevue Regional Library, WA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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