- Series: Benny Shaw
- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: O'Brien Pr (August 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0862785677
- ISBN-13: 978-0862785673
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 7.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.9 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,067,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Benny and Omar Paperback – August 1, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Fans of Irish author Colfer's Artemis Fowl will find this contemporary novel a real change of pace. Benny Shaw's passion is hurling (an Irish version of field hockey), and he's crushed when his father's job takes the family to North Africa for a year. Not only will he miss watching the All-Ireland Hurling Final, but he also has to deal with culture shock, from Tunisia's fierce heat to scorpions to a classroom run by a pair of aging hippies named Harmony and Bob (who say things like "remember, positive emotions only" and delight in group hugs). Benny slips over the wall of the company's gated compound one day and strikes up a friendship with Omar, an orphan whose only English comes from watching pirated TV (e.g., "Night, John Boy"). The two bounce from one scrape to the next, and Benny learns a lesson about family loyalty when his friend's devotion to his institutionalized sister sparks a climactic finale, with the two on the lam from the law. Colfer smoothly layers adventure, moments of poignancy and subtle social commentary, and his comic timing is pitch-perfect (at the airport, "Georgie was sad wishing his Grandad farewell, Benny distraught over losing a steady source of fivers"). He studs the prose with Irish slang ("eejit," "the dole," "that yoke"). Readers will hope that the story's sequel, Benny and Babe, will cross the Atlantic soon. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-As the hurling champion at Saint Jerome's school, Benny Shaw thinks he has a perfect life-until his parents move the family all the way to North Africa, a lifetime away from Ireland. They've never even heard of hurling in Tunisia. The village school is taught by feel-good hippies and filled with students actually bent on learning. There's no place for a sarcastic, self-centered kid like Benny. Then he meets Omar, a cheerful, scrappy boy surviving on his wits, and the two become fast friends, creating havoc and terrorizing everybody. But when Benny meets Omar's little sister, a drugged resident of the local mental farm, he realizes that his friend's life is more tragic than he had thought and realizes that he must help Omar rescue his sister. Suddenly Benny has to think of someone beside himself, and his ultimate change and personal growth make for a memorable story. At first it's hard to like Benny, even when he's trying to be decent, but Colfer does such a masterful job of mixing humor and tragedy with Benny's smart-alecky remarks that youngsters will like him in spite of themselves. This is a funny, fast-paced read, despite the Irish slang, that provides a wonderful glimpse into some very non-American worlds. -Linda Bindner, formerly at Truman State University, Kirksville, MO
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
The comedy is great. When i first read this book, i was 12, so i didn't reall y understand all of the jokes, but now, 2 years later, the jokes amuse to no end. The way that Benny and Omar communicate is classic, using TV terms like "I'm Bonds, James Bond Omar" to introduce ones self.
Okay. ENough of the fawning. Now to the plot. It's a great plot. Benny, a fairly self centered Irish preteen is moved with his family to Tunisia. There he teams up with a boy who lives in a cardboard box and has learn ed his english from TV. What follows is one of the best adeventures with children that i have ever read.
Omar, the boy, is basically living in poverty and with very little to survive on. He and BEnny instantly pair up and help each other out. Benny enjoys this all until Omar asks him to help kidnap Omars sick little sister.
Colfer writes it soooooo well. He had jokes at just the right time and develops Benny (and Omar a little bit) so well that you can really see the changes happening adn why. Despite the way that the book ended, i still enjoyed it emensly and Benny and Omar is one of my favorite books.
Eoin Colfer ISBN 978-1-4231-0281-6
What would you do if you had to move to Tunisia, Africa just because your dad got a promotion? Would you be happy for your dad and congratulate him? If you said yes to these questions then Benny did the exact opposite f you, in this fantastic realistic fiction by Eoin Colfer!!
Benny Shaw lives in his own little sarcastic and "not caring what other people think" kind of world. Having to move to Africa doesn't completely change that world, it just simply adjusts a little of it. There he finds out that the teachers' have their students call them by their first name but, Benny just calls them hippies. He also finds out that the students all hate him because of all his "negative energy," except one girl Grace that actually likes him. He also meets Omar who fools Benny into thinking he's still in Ireland
Each chapter has a title that's a little odd, for example chapter nine; Corpzublicked. It sounds weird now but throughout the book it explains itself.
I personally fell in love with this amazing book because it explains a crisis that a teenager would actually go through. I recommend this book to anyone that absolutely loves a good book! Eoin Colfer is a great author in this amazing thriller Benny and Omar!!
While there's something to be said about Colfer's look at a country I've never seen referenced in literature (except...Colfer's own, in the second Artemis Fowl book....), there are a few points where things feel a bit wrong. I was shocked when the mother of the family referred to Tunisa as "some uncivilized pit, with diseased water and mosquitoes and foreigners," going on to claim that "the only culture they have belonged to the Romans." This is very early in the book, but we never really get a refutation of these pretty prejudice words. In fact, adoption of European culture is a pretty big plot point, with Omar only able to communicate with Benny using television quotes. (And how...would he understand what those quotes meant? No clue.)
Still, Benny is shown as a very open-minded character, doing his best to balance demands from his family and the struggles of Omar. And, when the big test comes, Benny opts to ruin his own chances at an easy life at home so that Omar might have a far, far better improvement in his own life.
Colfer's writing returns repeatedly to Tunisia, where he did missionary work in his younger days, and he is likely to write about it again. Hopefully with a bit more interesting plots and a fewer prejudice statements from prominent characters.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Communicating with only TV lingo, Benny finds a Tunisian friend and learns what's really important.