The Boy with the Magic Numbers & The Invisible Boy

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Sally Gardner
Orion Children's Books
Jun 2007
Sally Gardner has a knack for taking the ordinary and the seemingly mundane and transforming this into the extraordinary and the unexpectedly magical. Her �Magical Children� sequence has seen all manner of children bestowed with skills and abilities that empower them to rise up from the difficulties they face in their respective home-lives.

Orion Children�s books have produced a bind-up of �The boy with magic numbers�, where a gift from his father enables protagonist Billy to predict number sequences with remarkable proficiency leading him to solve numerous numerical conundrams and ultimately to become embroiled in trying to rescue son of a millionaire, Walter Minks Junior, from kidnappers. Positive attitude and furthermore the desire to utilise skills responsively build through a succession of twists, turns, plots and sub-plots to a thoroughly heartening climax.

Flipping the book provides readers with the opportunity to read the story of �The Invisible Boy�. When Sam�s parents win a trip to the moon., the appropriately named Mrs Hardbottom, the family�s nextdoor neighbour, offers to look after him. This allows Gardner to achieve one of the archetypes of children�s literature, the child alone, conquering adversity. Salvation from the harsh treatment Sam suffers at the hand of Mrs Hardbottom arrives in a salad-spinner in the form of Splodge, an alien, whose patch makes Sam invisible, thereby initiating a series of... and reversing the adage that children should be seen and not heard.

These are sedate stories feeling almost as though they are from an age ago, in spite of these, or more properly, because of this, they retain a sense of wonder, magic and awe that makes life feel fuller and more flavoursome. Sally Gardner taps into the dream consciousness of children � and adults(!) � everywhere in these two timeless tales.

What makes these books so special and so clever is the sense in which they are thoroughly recognisable and set in an everyday environment that readers are instantly able to feel an affinity towards. Whilst magic influences gives levels of guidance to the child protagonists that lie at each story�s centre, that magic is skilfully utilised by Gardner as a means for developing a resilience and an increased sense of engagement with the world that surrounds them.

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This page contains a single entry by Jacob published on November 13, 2007 7:49 PM.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was the previous entry in this blog.

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