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The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas Paperback – Illustrated, February 24, 2015
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—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.
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
- 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
- Best Sellers Rank: #382,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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But, because Almond's work always has a suggestion of the melancholy and gothic to it, and because his books cut very close to important questions of life and living, and because Almond is willing to take children right up to the edge of tragedy without warning or preface, I'm always a little anxious about where one of his books is going to take me. Hence the SPOILER. Relax, nothing bad happens. Dramatic for Stan, yes. Life transforming for Stan, definitely. Destiny altering for Stan, of course. But as much as it feels like it's just around the corner, Godzilla never actually squashes Bambi. That's a good thing.
Even a cursory review of the blurbs, professional reviews, and reader comments will lead to a list of descriptions along these lines: quirky, strange, fanciful, weird, magical, intriguing, odd, challenging, quirky (again), odd (again), and challenging. I suppose that's true enough. I would describe it this way - the narrator of this book is very intrusive and chatty. There are a number of meta events in which the narrator inquires of the reader how he would like the story to develop. The narrator/Almond/author is playful - with the reader, with the story, with Stan, and with the idea of a book. But, this is not condescending or patronizing, and it is not the precious cleverness you get when some writers try this approach. The narrator's voice here is congenial and almost conspiratorial. The narrator invites the reader in to the story and almost invites the reader to help imagine and shape the story.
But this is all too heavy, so consider this. Stan is a good-hearted, gentle, steadfast, generous and perceptive hero who has a wonderful adventure in a world populated by a wide range of fascinating characters. His story is exciting, amusing, wild and colorful. This is a rewarding effort, and worth a try. How's that?
Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.