Tag Archives: Scholastic Press

Harry and the Wrinklies – Alan Temperley

IMAG0733_1Hello! I hope this finds you all well. Today’s book is one of my favourite children’s books, Harry and the Wrinklies. I can’t remember how I ended up with such a copy but I loved it and watched the tv series when it aired on CITV.

Plot

We meet Harry at the funeral of his wealthy parents and he is being shipped off to live with his ancient Aunties in the middle of no where. As soon as he sees them on the platform he feels so disappointed in how his life is turning out to be. He loved his parents and his life. However, on the drive to his new home, Auntie Florrie shows off her car’s ability and this old rusted car turns into a purring race car. This is just beginning of the strange happenings that occur around his Aunts. Upon arriving at Lagg Hall, Harry meets the rest of the inhabitants and his Aunt’s friends: Mrs. Good, the housekeeper; Nutty Slack, Gardner and Handyman; Dot, Fingers, Huggy, Angel, Max and Tangle – Harry’s new dog. In the first few days, he has more fun with these pensioners than he has ever had in his life and he realises that perceptions can be deceiving. With the stories of a haunted woods, the arrival of his evil ex-nanny and the burning question of what are the OAP’s up to late at night, Harry has plenty to keep him (and us) occupied at Lagg Hall.

Opinion

I’ve already stated that this was my favourite book and it is easy to see why. As a child, this book holds all the mystery and danger needed as well as good guys and bad guys. Everything is seemingly black-and-white but with grey areas only noticeable as you get older. The idea of grandparent like figures being as fun and as adventurous as Harry’s new family is, is one that many children’s authors have grasped and run with i.e. David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny. 

Temperley creates an idyllic world, not dissimilar to Enid Blyton’s world. Harry lives in a massive old mansion, with a tower bedroom, woods, lake, folly and animals. The ideal place to grow up. The amount of danger present does suggest more of an older child reader, with bodily harm coming to Harry often. Yet the good guys win and the bad guys pay, as how it should be.

All in all, a great book. One that I still read now and remember my love of it as a child. My verdict 9/10. The follow up isn’t as good but if you loved this one then get the sequel; Harry and the Treasure of Eddie Carver. 

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Filed under Alan Temperley, Book Review, Children's Fiction

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (film)The Hunger Games is probably as big as Twilight and Harry Potter. All three have been made into films and have all sold 50-450 million books. Phenomenal when you see series’ such as Discworld have sold over 55 million copies and have been written since the 80’s. The power of film has done this for these. Harry Potter would always have been a high grossing book series but Twilight and The Hunger Games have hugely benefited from the films. Having said that, I read this series long before it became a film.

Plot

We meet Katniss, our heroine, and discover a few important things. One, when her father died it was left to her to raise herself and Prim (sister) due to their mother’s depression. Two, she did this by hunting in the forest by her district. Three, the Captiol makes the district “give up” two of its teenagers to compete in a bloody and barbaric “Hunger Games”. These three points are important in understanding the start of this trilogy and indeed the end. Katniss loves her sister, can shoot with a bow Cover of "The Hunger Games" and arrow and the Capitol leaders are evil. During the reaping (the choosing of the teenagers), Prim’s name is called. Katniss volunteers for her sister and in doing so puts herself into the Games. The boy tribute for District 12 is Peeta. They journey off together, along with their mentor, Haymitch, and battle against 22 other young people to be crowned victors. In a twist,  Katniss severely undermines the Capitol and becomes the face of the rebellion.

During Catching Fire Katniss is in no better a position than before the Games. Yes, her family is now rich and have a fabulous new house but she is under severe scrutiny. Her freedom to chose who she wishes to be her husband has been taken away from Cover of "Catching Fire (The Second Book ... her. District 12 now has new law keepers and is punishing the whole district for Katniss’ success. Snow wants her dead and makes it so Katniss has to enter into her nightmares, a second Hunger Game. This time she makes it her mission to keep Peeta alive, knowing she will never have a life with the Capitol in power.

Mockingjay brings us to the final and ultimate climax of the series. Katniss has been rescued from the Mockingjay
games but at the price of Peeta. She becomes the poster girl for the rebellion. Katniss is once again used by higher powers in their games of dominance when all she wants to do is stop fighting and live a normal life.

Opinion

I loved these books. Obviously had to like the first one to keep reading the series. The films are pretty good too. This is a world not to distant to us. Humanity has basically torn itself apart and the Capitol is the area that won at the end of it. The Hunger Games were designed to keep the districts subdued and it is a very feasible path that is not out of the realm of possibilities humanity could take. I think the moral and political issues behind the book are very intricately woven into the plot and hold a hidden meaning; humanity could almost wipe itself out and what we are left with won’t be pretty.

The love triangle is exquisitely done and you never feel that it is forced or contrite by Collins. The fight scenes are detailed gruesomely and you feel Katniss’ pain and revulsion for what she witnesses and what she is forced to do. I definitely didn’t see the ending coming and was shocked when it occurred. However here comes my main vital flaw for this trilogy. The last chapter. Horrendous. It was almost as bad as “And they all woke up and it was just a dream”. Collins had built up this epic suspense and had us all on the edge of our seats and then boom, a very wimpy way to end it. However, I don’t really see any other end to the books. She wrote herself into a corner and this is the result. Unlike the Harry Potter books where I felt a kind of closure for the characters, here I just felt loss and confusion. If it wasn’t for this ending these books are excellent and very much a 10/10. Due to this my verdict is: 8/10. Still epic but just not there.

The symbol of the revolution. The Mockingjay.

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Filed under Book Review, Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games Trilogy, Twilight, Young Adult