The Grubby Feather Gang (Bigshorts) by Antony Wootten
|The Grubby Feather Gang (Bigshorts) by Antony Wootten|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A book with a big story in very few pages: perfect for the child who wants more meat to the story but prefers shorter novels. Antony Wootten popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 115||Date: April 2015|
|Publisher: Eskdale Publishing|
|External links: Author's website|
Life is confusing for George Sanders: his father, the local vet, has refused to 'do his bit' and volunteer to fight in France. There's bad feeling in the village - with the women giving Dad white feathers - and even George's mum believes that he should go and fight. To top it all George is currently being suspended, upside down, from the rafters in the hayloft by the local bully who is determined that George is going to do his maths homework. You'd think that it couldn't get much worse, but the next day he's caned at school when he doesn't feel that he was in the wrong. There's no wonder George is confused, is there?
It's 1916 and George's dad is a conscientious objector - or conchie as they were known. George sees the other men from the village joining up - and sometimes hearing they've been killed. It isn't that Mr Sanders is frightened of fighting, but that he believes war is wrong. He's not even willing to join the army in a non-combative roll, such as the veterinary service: he's determined to fight war itself, by lobbying parliament. It's a lot for George to understand, particularly when everyone seems to be against his dad. He can't understand why his father remains so calm in the face of the threats - almost welcoming the abuse.
And then there's the problem of how George deals with the bullying from Stan North. When his mother finds out what's been happening she says that George should hit Stan, but George is no more inclined to violence than his father is. He's got one friend though - a rather strange girl called Emma, who has some dubious talents which are going to land George in even more trouble, when he thinks that someone else is dodging doing their bit for the war effort but doesn't understand the background to the situation.
It's a good story with plenty to make the young reader think about war, about why people fight and what happens when someone feels strongly that what is happening is wrong. There's a neat parallel with what's happening at a local level when George is bullied. The Grubby Feather Gang is a book to read and discuss - and the characters will stay with you for a long time after you've turned the final page. I'd like to thank the publisher for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals then we think that you'll love Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders.
Antony Wootten Again was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Grubby Feather Gang (Bigshorts) by Antony Wootten at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Grubby Feather Gang (Bigshorts) by Antony Wootten at Amazon.com.
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