The Funfair of Fear! - A Measle Stubbs Adventure by Ian Ogilvy and Chris Mould
|The Funfair of Fear! - A Measle Stubbs Adventure by Ian Ogilvy and Chris Mould|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A great second adventure for Measle, with a strong fantasy threat in a fairground|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: May 2010|
|Publisher: OUP Oxford|
There is one thing Measle could really be called afraid of. Not the usual teenage things, like having a bath, no. He's lived through being inches high and stuck in a nightmarish train-set diorama with an evil cockroach and worse for company, and as a result, he's going to be afraid of a wrathmonk – a warlock turned bad – such as the one who put him there. So you'll pity him when it becomes obvious a gathering of wrathmonks are forming, to get their revenge on Measle's newly-found family. But what are wrathmonks in turn afraid of, I hear you ask? That's right – a garden gnome.
Unfortunately for everyone concerned, the garden gnome is possessed by the spirit of something even more ancient and evil than the oldest, nastiest wrathmonk – a dragodon. You won't have heard of a dragodon, unless you saw this book in its first incarnation, Measle and the Dragodon. The publishers have ditched the costly fluorescent orange rubber jacket, and given us a more colourful redesign, but it's the same thing – as with all five books in the series, hereby relaunched with different, alliterative titles.
And probably that's a good thing, as long as you're aware of that in advance – especially when they hit the heights of the series, as in these pages. Here the balance is greater, all round. The characters are more fully formed, and offer broader humour. The sibilance of the wrathmonks' dialogue is used to greater effect. The plotting of the threat against Measle, as he has to enter a near-empty adventure park on a rescue mission, is much richer and far more satisfying.
Here there are clues that Ogilvy was hitting his stride, after his first children's book launched the series. Witness the way we enter the thought patterns of Measle's dog. Witness the way the fairground basis for the plot is not over-done, but thought through and used very well – as in, for example, the way the rhythm of the rollercoaster comes across the page to us. And bear in mind, in addition to that, the way elements from this world, and characters, reappear when we least expect them, and for reasons we would not ever have considered.
We don't get that much time to consider much, if the truth be told – the pace of this book is great for the intended audience, and I think this successful series probably hit its peak here. (If not, it was here.)
I must thank OUP for sending me a review copy.
For a more circus-based adventure with another young lad with enough to be scared of, we recommend The Palace of Laughter by Jon Berkeley.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Funfair of Fear! - A Measle Stubbs Adventure by Ian Ogilvy and Chris Mould at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Funfair of Fear! - A Measle Stubbs Adventure by Ian Ogilvy and Chris Mould at Amazon.com.
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