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The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas Paperback – Illustrated, February 24, 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 77 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


Dahl meets J. K., flavored with a soupçon of Choose Your Own Adventure, but in the end, this novel is all pure, sweet Almond. ... In the subtlest ways possible, Almond masterfully makes young readers understand this, and they will be delighted that life lessons can be administered so deliciously.
—Booklist (starred review)

A buoyant, delightfully Almond-ine coming-of-age novel about fish, fate and family; moonlight, madness and myth; runts, “Rackanruwin” and, finally, redemption.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Readers who have read Almond’s other books will be entertained by the decisions Stan makes, especially when he leaves home, as many youngsters fantasize about that.
—Library Media Connection

This has some of the fantasy quality of a Roald Dahl novel but without the dark heart that lies at the core of many of Dahl’s works. Almond’s narrative is both quirky and dreamlike, and the kindness of many of the characters propels it forward with positive energy. The present-tense narration is sometimes lyrical, sometimes straightforward or confiding, and the combination of these styles is surprisingly effective. Almond has a deft touch with the moonlight and mysticism, allowing readers to linger a bit in the mystery but at the same time unspooling the tale’s trajectory purposefully and thoughtfully. Jeffers’ frequent and slightly offbeat monochromatic illustrations are well matched to Almond’s whimsical text. ... [A] real catch.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Master storyteller Almond combines delicious wordplay, zany antics, wacky characters, and a bit of magical realism in a novel that touches the heart. Quick-paced, accessible, and enhanced by stylized cartoonlike drawings, this book is sure to be enjoyed by fans of humorous, quirky stories.
—School Library Journal

Almond ventures far afield from the almost hallucinatory magical realism that characterized his earliest work, offering up some lighthearted fare for a younger audience. This book, complete with old-fashioned intrusive narrator and numerous spot illustrations, seems to have more in common with the work of Roald Dahl or Frank Cottrell Boyce; yet the silliness is tempered by an unsentimental, clear-eyed wisdom, marking it unmistakably as the work of Almond.
—The Horn Book

Bold, imaginative, and funny, Stanley’s bigger-than-life escapades will tickle imaginations.
—Publishers Weekly

With its quirky humor, fantastical plot and delightful illustrations by Oliver Jeffers, The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas is a perfect book for end-of-summer reading.

Roald Dahl fans take note: David Almond's The Boy Who Swam With Piranhas has all the makings of one of Dahl's classic coming-of-age tales.

About the Author


Product details

  • Lexile Measure : 550L
  • Grade Level : 4 - 7
  • Item Weight : 7.2 ounces
  • Paperback : 256 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0763676802
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0763676803
  • Product Dimensions : 5.13 x 0.66 x 7.75 inches
  • Publisher : Candlewick; Illustrated edition (February 24, 2015)
  • Language: : English
  • Reading level : 9 - 12 years
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 77 ratings

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
77 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on February 10, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on January 13, 2014
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Reviewed in the United States on May 7, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on June 4, 2014
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Reviewed in the United States on December 28, 2013
Reviewed in the United States on January 13, 2014

Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars I have to say I could not put it down and really enjoyed it. I don't want to give too much ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 4, 2016
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Joanne 'Vanguard Legacy' Kershaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully quirky narrative
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 21, 2016
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5.0 out of 5 stars A magical story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 6, 2015
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2 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars A well-written delight.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 10, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 25, 2020
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