Sunday, 4 June 2017
THE EEL OF FORTUNE by Sally Prue. Reviewed by Adèle Geras
When Sally Prue's first Class Six book came out, I reviewed it on this blog. A link to my piece is below. For those who are pressed for time, the main thing about this review is my justification for reviewing a) a book by a friend of mine and b) a book for juniors, not hyped, and not much advertised and which could easily fall below the radar.
This is the follow up. The school has lost the wonderful witch Miss Broom..she's been sent away so that the terrible Mrs Knowall, who's keen on being a school governor, doesn't spot that there's magic in this school, doesn't report it to her friend the District Inspector of Schools, and get the school changed or closed down or somehow rendered unmagical.
The only problem is: the School Fair is coming up. Will Class Six be able to prepare all the magical things that Miss Broom would have been in charge of? What will Winsome and Anil and the hilarious Rodney do to save the day?
I can't begin to convey how delightful the solutions are. How fun-filled and silly and completely satisfying they are. The staff at this school consist of a werewolf, a vampire and the head is mermaid who sings sad sea songs. The school secretary is called Jeanie and of course, retires into her lamp when she needs to. Beanstalks grow and giants appear. Barry the eponymous eel helps Miss C Weed tell fortunes. And my favourites of all are the band called The Sirens.
They are put in charge of drawing in the crowds and of course the crowds are drawn into the Fair in their thousands. And the song the Sirens sang, in Prue's words: "wasn't exactly singing: the sound was more like someone spin-drying a gibbon."
Prue writes so well. She's so zingy and inventive and the illustrations by Loretta Schauer fit perfectly with this zany and delicious story which every Year Six child will enjoy. And Prue isn't above slipping in a message for parents and educationalists. "Mrs Knowall wants to make this a place where all the children are squeezed into the same shape, so the fat ones can't breathe and the thin ones rattle."
There are numerous delights all through this book. And there are quizzes and bonus bits at the end....what more could you wish for? Buy for your school classroom. Buy for your child....enjoy!
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