Hamish and the Worldstoppers by Danny Wallace
|Hamish and the Worldstoppers by Danny Wallace|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: A story that's both exciting and daft...what a wonderful combination!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: March 2015|
|Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Longlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2016
Something strange is happening to Hamish, or happening around him, or actually, if we're being specific, things are not happening! He is finding that suddenly, in the middle of a perfectly normal day, everything stops except him. So the people around him are frozen, the birds are stuck mid wing-flap, planes hang un-moving in the sky, and Hamish is the only one who can still move around! What is causing these strange pauses, and is there anything Hamish can do about it?
I really enjoyed the style of writing in this story. Daft is probably the best description. It's sort of silly, in the way that your dad's jokes are, and sometimes you chuckle aloud or groan a bit, depending on how dreadful the silliness is! I liked that the book managed a good balance between being scary and exciting and also being funny - it could easily veer off into being a horror story since the baddies (the terribles) are pretty disgusting and they're kidnapping grown ups left, right and centre. But the plotting and planning that the children in the story come up with to defeat the terribles is full of humour, so it manages not to cross the line into being unsuitable for bedtime reading!
So it's an adventure story, and there's lots of action and excitement and moments of peril. There are lots of characters with silly names, and the odd moment of toilet humour. Hamish is a good character. He's just a pretty normal boy, with the added intrigue (and sadness) of the fact that his dad has disappeared, and Hamish doesn't know if he's been kidnapped, or if he just decided to leave his family. I also really liked the bully in the story, and the way that bullying is treated in the book, so although Hamish does end up being able to get revenge on the boy who has been bullying him, he is also able to see behind the bully's facade and understand a little what's making him into such a horrible boy. In amongst the silliness, there are real moments that are quite serious, or moving.
This is probably aimed at children aged about 8 and older, but I confess I found it a pretty gripping read myself! My only quibble was with the ending because although we get some resolution, there's a whole lot more of the story that remains unexplained. The set-up is clearly there for a second part to the story, which is fine, but I did feel a little cheated at the end that I didn't know more about what on earth was going on! This is very easy to pick up and read and then you find yourself engrossed and not wanting to put it down. Perfect for more confident readers who enjoy a longer chapter story book, but still like plenty of humour and silliness.
If you enjoy this, then you'd probably enjoy David Walliams, if you haven't discovered him already! Take a look at The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams and Quentin Blake.
You can read more book reviews or buy Hamish and the Worldstoppers by Danny Wallace at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Hamish and the Worldstoppers by Danny Wallace at Amazon.com.
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