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My nine year old granddaughter borrowed Krindlekrax from her school library recently and I liked the cover of it so much that I had a quick nose through on Saturday evening when she'd gone to bed, I enjoyed what I read so much that I spent the rest of the night reading the book and really got into the story.
The basic plot revolves around Ruskin Splinter. Ruskin dreams of being a famous actor and is auditioning to play the hero in his school play, the problem is he is a small thin boy with a shock of orange hair and no-one can imagine him battling a dragon. He is about to be looked over in favour of the more heroic Elvis when the Krindlekrax starts stirring beneath Lizard Street. Ruskin takes charge and proves to everyone that he is not the weakling they all think he is and he can be as much a hero as anyone.
I think the moral of this book is a fantastic one, all children have their own insecurities but Ruskin is a lovely character and so easy to relate to that I would imagine any child could put themselves in his position of not feeling tall enough or big enough to be able to prove themselves. I found myself rooting for Ruskin all the way through, from the beginning I was hoping he was going to get his longed for part in the play even though I knew he wasn't going to! He came from a very sweet and loving family and it was funny reading the way his mum and dad interacted with Ruskin, urging him on but in a confused and half hearted kind of way.
The author, Philip Ridley, has written a book that is perfect for children of around my granddaughters age who are just getting confident with reading humour. It's a fine balance when it comes to comedy-type books because it's hard to judge what a young child will find funny and what will go straight over their head. I think Philip Ridley has got it spot on, when my granddaughter was reading it aloud to me she was giggling in all the right places so I know she was definitely getting the jokes. The book also uses italic fonts cleverly to draw the readers interest to particularly amusing or surprising elements of the story and this has helped my granddaughter follow the story placing emphasis in the correct places.
The story is told in an amusing and easy to read way and the author has proved he knows what makes children tick in a very similar way to Roald Dahls books. I could definitely read real child-like qualities in all the characters and could usually place a child I know in the boots of a character from this story whether through looks or nuances of personality. I loved how descriptive Philip Ridley was throughout the book and enjoyed his somewhat long winded descriptions of various aspects of the story, I got the feeling he sometimes had to write lots and lots just to get as many quips in as possible. This style of writing works though and my granddaughter and I howled with laughter at certain points in the book.
I read Krindlekrax within about an hour and a half and thoroughly enjoyed losing myself in the adventures of Ruskin and his friends. While complete make believe, this story has a ring of truth to it and this is probably because of the moral aspect of the tale. I love the fact that Ruskin triumphs in the end and proves to everyone else that it doesn't matter how small or thin he is, he is as much a hero as St George!
This is a paperback and costs around £4.79, the book is 144 pages long so just right for young readers to get their teeth into.