The Wind Tamer by P R Morrison
|The Wind Tamer by P R Morrison|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A beautifully-written thriller of a book for young but confident readers with a slightly quaint air. It's unusually, but happily, free of the usual high-tech glamour.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: March 2007|
|Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC|
Archie Stringweed is celebrating his tenth birthday. Archie and his parents live in the remote Scottish fishing village of Westerhoe. Just lately, strange things have been happening to Archie. The wind talks to him, threatens him. Small balls of green light appear and seem to watch over him, in defiance of the wind's threats. A mythical icegull appears at his window, bearing a strange golden coin. Archie's over-protective parents become even more over-protective than usual. It is not until his Uncle Rufus, an intrepid explorer and the black sheep of the Stringweed family, returns to Westerhoe that Archie finds out what is going on.
The Stringweed family suffers under an ancient curse. Shortly after his tenth birthday, each first-born Stringweed son is visited by Huigor, a living hurricane, which steals away his courage and honour. The Stringweeds are doomed to live dull, boring, fearful lives forever unless Archie can do battle with Huigor and restore that courage back to his kin. He must collect together the artefacts, climb Moss Rock and risk his very life against the storm.
I rather liked The Wind Tamer. It has a slightly quaint, old-fashioned air about it. The writing is very precise and rarely drops into colloquialisms. Archie doesn't have the latest technological wizardry to help him fight Huigor - he has a rabbits foot charm, an antique dagger, a magnifying glass and a host of other antiquated items, including a pair of World War II aviator goggles. Uncle Rufus is very Heath Robinson. And this actually makes young Archie Stringweed seem even more courageous as he battles the tornado. He does though, have the supernatural, glowing green scouts and icegulls - both absolutely wonderful conceits - to help him fulfil his destiny.
The whole thing almost feels as though it was written years ago, in times when writers cared about grammar and weren't all rushing to worship at the altar of Yoof Slang R Us. That's not to say that I mind Yoof Slang R Us - I don't. It's just to say that The Wind Tamer made a refreshing change. And the truth is that good, precise English is easily understood and if you use it when you write for children, you can also include some fairly complicated imagery and it won't go over their heads. Morrison does this in The Wind Tamer and I like it. A three hundred page book full of imagery is quite a challenge for child in the middle primary years, but such a child could certainly approach Archie's story with confidence.
Recommended for keen readers and lovers of magical adventure aged about nine to eleven.
My thanks to the publisher, Bloomsbury, for sending the book.
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