The Alien in the Garage and Other Stories by Rob Keeley
|The Alien in the Garage and Other Stories by Rob Keeley
|Category: Confident Readers
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy
|Summary: Super collection of slightly spooky, blackly comic short stories. Can be read aloud to younger readers and enjoyed alone by slightly older ones. Bookbag enjoyed them immensely - even if it is a bit long in the tooth.
|Date: March 2011
Would aliens like custard creams? Can fake tan hide a big lie? Are TV remotes sinister objects? Do secrets make you popular?
Rob Keeley explores all these questions and more in a super collection of slightly spooky, blackly comic short stories. They're beautifully observed and you can see that Rob knows children well. He has the emotional landscape exactly right and is equally accurate when describing - and sometimes gently mocking - peer relationships.
He made me laugh when he looked at classroom pecking orders and his readers will recognise the set ups immediately. There's Emma, jealous of the Mediterranean villas and safaris enjoyed by her friend, who tells a big fat porker about her holiday plans. And there's Nicholas, a geek with nothing in the way of kudos, which all changes when he brings a mystery object to school. The collection's second story, The Secret, is all about Chinese whispers and it made me laugh out loud.
Some of the stories are a little more spooky - Elliott, Jack and Sam have an eventful camping trip, and Amy battles with a TV remote that has a mind of its own. And some are very sweet. In The Alien in the Garage, Jamie gets to hug a multi-limbed alien - and they put all their arms round each other. How lovely!
The stories in the collection all have a little twist in the tale. Both younger and older readers will enjoy trying to guess them in advance and I can see this allowing parents reading aloud to create really lively and interactive sessions. I saw a few coming, but missed a few too, so there is some challenge to be had. Children love a good tale of the unexpected, and I think Rob has hit upon a formula that will win him a fanbase.
The Alien in the Garage and Other Stories will appeal to children from seven or eight right up to tweens and early teens. They're fun to read, they're full of jokes and irony, and some are a little bit scary, but not too much. And each one comes with a sucker punch attached. What more could you want?
Across the Wall by Garth Nix has a similar spread of spooky and twist-in-the tale. Other short story collections with a spooky twist include Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror by Chris Priestley and The Ribbajack and Other Curious Yarns by Brian Jacques.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Alien in the Garage and Other Stories by Rob Keeley at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Alien in the Garage and Other Stories by Rob Keeley at Amazon.com.
You can read more about Rob Keeley here.
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