Boobela and Worm Ride the Waves by Joe Friedman
|Boobela and Worm Ride the Waves by Joe Friedman|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: Brilliant artwork and some interesting characters, but you should probably start at the beginning of the series if you want to know what's going on!|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 128||Date: March 2010|
|Publisher: Orion Children's Books|
Boobela is a girl who is just like any other little girl, except for the fact that she isn't little - she's a giant. Worm is her best friend (he actually is a worm) and he rides around in a box she straps to her shoulder. This outing sees them visiting some underground caves and learning to surf, amongst other adventures in this colourful book.
This is a book aimed at children who are just mastering reading. Each story within the book is fairly short, and the lovely illustrations throughout would help to guide a younger reader along. The text isn't overly simplified and the layout is like that of a 'proper' book, so it's a good transition for those who have moved on from picture books but aren't quite yet ready for a longer illustration-free story.
If you haven't read any Boobela stories before you might want to try them before starting on this one. I hadn't, and this book just launched right in, leaving my head whirling as to who on earth Boobela was, why she was carrying a worm around with her and why she was seemingly without any parental supervision whatsoever. (I'm a mum. I worry about these things!) I continued to be baffled for suddenly, in the middle of the book, there's a letter from Boobela's parents, or rather half of a letter as the other half is missing. Why were they writing to her and what on earth was going on? I discovered after a bit of googling that Boobela's parents are away looking for medicinal herbs and they left Boobela alone... Boobela does have a gran, who she goes to visit, but I'm still not sure why she's not living with her and is, instead, left alone with a worm. I probably shouldn't worry about it - it's just a story, Boobela is a giant, she can fend for herself, hopefully.
The illustrations are just lovely, in colour throughout and really bring the story to life. The ideas behind the story seemed to have a lot of promise too, with lots of opportunities to be funny with this enormous giant girl and her wormy best friend. Yet I was left disappointed as it felt like the story never quite got to where it could have. Since I haven't read any of Boobela's previous adventures perhaps that has an effect on my opinions, but still there wasn't the flow that I like when reading, as if there had originally been more to these stories but it had been cut out, and it felt like wasted potential. And as I mentioned before, I ran into questions when I didn't really know what was going on in the story. The whole book could have stood being much longer, with a lot more detail to it, but then it wouldn't be an 'in-between' sort of book any more.
There is a rather dramatic moment in the underground caving story where a little boy Boobela has befriended falls into a river. His brother saves him but they are both soaked through and begin to worry about what will happen to them. After discussing their situation one of the boys says Think about it...By the time any rescuers get here, it would be too late. My stupid mistake is going to kill us. This comes up rather suddenly and unexpectedly in what is otherwise a gentle adventure story, and I was surprised that an early reader's book would have such a dark moment in it. Of course they end up being fine because Boobela uses some of her 'special magic' to warm them up and then helps them escape the caves but still, I was a little surprised at the tone in that section of the story.
On the other hand there is a nice little story about Boobela's friend Nurgul who has grown very quiet and sad of late, and Boobela asks her Uncle Neill to help her find out what's wrong with her. They discover that she is worried by her parents arguing, and after talking it over they are able to help Nurgul resolve the situation. This felt like a positive 'talking it over can help' tale. I suppose the caving story might also allow young children to discuss their fears about accidents and death, but I still thought it felt out of place.
This is already a popular series with younger school-age children however, and I expect that they probably don't worry so much about specifics and just enjoy the stories as they are. I'm sure if you've followed the stories from the beginning this will be a welcome sequel in the lives of Boobela and worm.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
If you're looking for other good stories for those just mastering reading then you could try something by Sue Mongredien or for those wanting to move on to something a little more complex try this story.
You can read more book reviews or buy Boobela and Worm Ride the Waves by Joe Friedman at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Boobela and Worm Ride the Waves by Joe Friedman at Amazon.com.
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