Big Big Secrets by Robert Arley and Marisa Lewis

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Big Big Secrets by Robert Arley and Marisa Lewis

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: An easy to read, action-packed adventure.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: October 2010
Publisher: Severnpix
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0954540265

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When Jake's science experiment goes wrong he isn't faced with a room full of bad-smelling chemicals and a D grade as most students would be - instead he discovers that he has shrunk his teacher to the size of a Barbie doll! His friend, Annie, gets roped in to help him take care of his newly miniaturised teacher, keeping it a secret and trying, desperately, to find a way to reverse the process...

Although this is Jake's experiment, the story is told from Annie's point of view. By virtue of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and donating her mum's microwave oven to Jake for the purpose of his experiment, she finds herself tangled up in the whole sorry escapade. There's a lot of fun, childish humour in the story, with Annie and Jake lying more and more in order to cover up what's happened to their teacher. Annie has to find old doll's clothes for him to wear, help him avoid detection by suspicious mothers and sniffing dogs, create him meals he can actually manage to eat, rescue him from a toddler who thinks he's her new doll and so on and so forth.

I liked the fantasy element. However unlikely it may seem that a school boy could miniaturise someone using two microwave ovens the writer somehow makes it seem plausible. Annie herself was, for me, a bit irritating sometimes. I found that I kept thinking 'why don't they just tell a grown-up what's happened?!' Showing my age I suppose! It has a very farcical feel to it, and I think children will enjoy the drama and humour of a teacher (a grumpy teacher at that!) being involved. The relationship between Annie and Jake is written in a nice way, and the story has a good pace to it. I especially liked the final chase scenes which felt exciting and fun.

There were just a couple of small black and white illustrations in the book which I found rather odd. Either you have pictures or you don't - only having two makes it seem like a bit of an afterthought! I think the inclusion of some more pictures would have added a lot to the story. So many of the images being created by the plot are visual, it was a shame there weren't more.

I suspect children between about 8 and 12 would be most likely to enjoy the story. It's definitely worth a look, although I'm not sure it would withstand re-reading which is why I've suggested you might want to borrow it rather than buy. From my own grown-up point of view I felt that it lacked a little polish and style, but it is still a good, fun read.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion:

For more action-packed fun try the Bree McCready stories by Hazel Allan.

Buy Big Big Secrets by Robert Arley and Marisa Lewis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Big Big Secrets by Robert Arley and Marisa Lewis at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Big Big Secrets by Robert Arley and Marisa Lewis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Big Big Secrets by Robert Arley and Marisa Lewis at Amazon.com.


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