Anton and Piranha by Milena Baisch and Chantal Wright

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Anton and Piranha by Milena Baisch and Chantal Wright

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Margaret Young
Reviewed by Margaret Young
Summary: Spending the holidays camping with your grandparents wasn't exactly Anton's idea of a brilliant time, but he was looking forward to a few days by the pool. When he arrives to find there isn't a pool things quickly go from bad to worse and Anton is anything but a happy camper in a humour filled story for tweens.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: July 2013
Publisher: Andersen
ISBN: 978-1849396196

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Anton just can't understand his grandparents. He was looking forward to a camping holiday, but only because he expected a pool. The campground his grandparents chose has a lake instead of a pool and Anton is terrified of the dark water and creeping aquatic vegetation. What's worse his grandparents want him to swim in it. There are fish in the water, and snails and all sorts of slimy things. So Anton watches the other children have fun and gets nasty because he is left out. He isn't happy with his grandparents other ideas either. They want him to play board games instead of watch the telly at night, and they even want him to make friends. Not the internet sort, he has plenty of those. They want him to make friends with real children. How positively uncivilised of them. But when Grandpa takes him fishing, he does make a friend, a very close friend, even if it is a fish.

I feel terribly old after reading this book. When did I stop identifying with the children and identify with the adults? It isn't even parents in this case, it is grandparents, but I have to admit, I found it hard not to laugh out loud reading this. My son on the other hand was happy enough to sit laughing and reading at the same time. He really enjoyed this book. He thought it was funny that Anton was afraid of the lake, and even more funny that he couldn't watch a hook be baited. He especially liked when Anton told his Grandparents that they were old enough to play by themselves when they wanted him to play board games. He found Anton's temper tantrums hilarious. Like most children he takes some pleasure in seeing other children misbehave. Anton is, in most ways a polar opposite of my son, but they have one thing in common. Anton had a soft spot for the fish his grandfather caught, and my son likes animals as well. He couldn't bear to see it killed as bait and took it back to the caravan as a pet. My son felt that it would be brilliant to keep a fish in a bucket for a few days, but was afraid the fish would die. Anton's friendship with the fish is what made my son identify with main character and made this a very enjoyable book. But, will Anton ever find away to be friends with living children?

The pictures are quite nice, but small and simple, and not very many of them. There is a frog on the corners of the pages which will appear animated if you flick through them quickly and each chapter has a small black and white image, but these serve more as decorations than to help a child visualise the story. My son does find it easier to immerse himself in a well illustrated book, because, like many boys, he has trouble with visualisation without a little help. This book was so good though he never seemed to notice.

This is a fun story with enough humour to keep any boy reading. There are also plenty of things boys enjoy, like video games, a remote control car and even a fight. Some boys will find the scenes with the worms delightfully disgusting, others like my own son will find it amusing that Anton is quite frightened of worms as well. Whether your child is like Anton, or a complete opposite, there is plenty to laugh at and enjoy in this book. This book was originally published in Germany where it won The German Children's Literature Prize. Reading this it easy to see why this book has taken a top award, and I would expect the English version to do just as well. This is an outstanding book. The humour is universal. This will be just as relevant to a British child as to German one, and the translator has done wonderfully in making this book read as if it were always in English. The vernacular is perfect for a typical British child. Parents are certain to enjoy this as well, especially with all the jokes directed at the generation gap. I quite liked the moral to the story as well, encouraging children to try new things, and to think of others as well. The book ends with a much more pleasant child than it began with. My eight year old son gives this book five stars, and so do I. I sincerely hope this is the first many English language translations from this author. In fact, the book is good enough that I really wish we could learn German just to enjoy her other books.

If these books appeal then we can also recommend:

My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O'Hara

I'm Dougal Trump . . . Where's My Tarantula? by Dougal Trump

Buy Anton and Piranha by Milena Baisch and Chantal Wright at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Anton and Piranha by Milena Baisch and Chantal Wright at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Anton and Piranha by Milena Baisch and Chantal Wright at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Anton and Piranha by Milena Baisch and Chantal Wright at Amazon.com.


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