Small Change For Stuart

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Lissa Evans
May 2011
278 pp
Whole book read
Yes Yes Yes
What makes me like this book so much? Is it that it concerns a collection of old threepenny bits, those belovedly brassy coins of childhood? Is it because it is such a well-formed object of a physical book, a beautifully proportioned small hardback with pleasingly designed dustjacket and chapter heading illustrations (both by Temujin Doran)? Is it because it reads so smoothly, with not a word wrong-footing the inner ear? Of course these things help, but novels ultimately have to make their impact by virtue of characters and narrative, rather than style, form or inanimate objects.

Stuart, very short for his age and with a surname (Horten) that doesn't help matters, is 10 years old when he has to move away to a new town, leaving all his friends behind. His new neighbours, the Kingsley triplets, do not believe him when he tells them how old he is. These neighbours are highly entertaining creations, as is Stuart's father, a writer of crosswords, who always chooses the longest words to describe things. A great-uncle of Stuart's used to live and work as a magician in the town they have moved to. The discovered collection of threepenny bits and the subsequently collected sequence of clues lead Stuart (and, eventually, one of the triplets) on an adventure of discovery to find the lost workshop of Teeny-Tiny Horten.

Perfect reading for children aged 7-10, and highly recommended as a readaloud class novel for teachers of Y4 or Y5. The author is a radio and television producer. She has written two or three adult books. This is her first children's novel. It ought not to be the last.

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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on May 17, 2011 9:29 PM.

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