The Far From Great Escape: Grubtown Tales by Philip Ardagh

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The Far From Great Escape: Grubtown Tales by Philip Ardagh

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: An anarchic tale which is brilliant for the emerging reader - but there is a determination that you'll get the other books in the series too.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 160 Date: September 2009
Publisher: Faber Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0571242344

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When the Grubtown lighthouse is plunged into darkness because of the failure of its one massive lightbulb a ship called The Plucked Grape runs aground in the bay. It ploughs into The Rusty Dolphin where the locals are enjoying a Hot Chocolate and Bubble-Wrap Popping Night. As if this wasn't enough to contend with the local Police Department (all three of them) have to cope with a jail break when all six members of the Fox family make a bid for freedom. Their sentence only had another fortnight to go and when they're caught there'll be another trial and they'll be imprisoned for a much longer stretch.

Have you ever noticed that books for the emerging reader usually have nice stories about people with nice names? Do you think that sometimes they can be just a little bit boring? Yes – me too. Well, forget all that as Philip Ardagh (aka Beardy Ardagh) has a written a book for children who are just learning about how enjoyable reading can be that's positively anarchic. Let's begin with the names. How are you going to feel about Carlo Monte the riverboat gambler? There's Marley Gripe who's a painter of signs and whilst he might sound as though he's always complaining that's the honour that goes to Wide Brim Petty-Mandrake.

Have you noticed that there are some quite difficult words in there? They're fun though, aren't they? You can't help but smile as you imagine the person who has to live with a name like that. Add in to the mix that you've got an exciting story with lots of interesting people and you might just have the perfect book for the young reader, boy or girl. There is, though, A Problem.

Here at Bookbag we don't like cliff-hanger endings (that's not the problem here though) or any device which virtually forces parents into buying another book, like it or not. We're used to adverts at the back of books and provided that they're not to intrusive we understand that publishers have to sell books to survive. These adverts are a little bit too pushy though – You should have read this one already! – or You should have read this one too! I might just cope with that but there's actually some very blatant marketeering in the text: If you're not familiar with that particular tale, we'll pause while you hang your head in shame. There's a little more but I'll not labour the point other than to say that someone is looking to get their beard pulled.

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

For more from Beardy we can recommend Dinosaurs (Henry's House) by Philip Ardagh and Mike Gordon.

Buy The Far From Great Escape: Grubtown Tales by Philip Ardagh at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Far From Great Escape: Grubtown Tales by Philip Ardagh at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Far From Great Escape: Grubtown Tales by Philip Ardagh at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Far From Great Escape: Grubtown Tales by Philip Ardagh at Amazon.com.


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