Review Blog

Jan 24 2011

The great big enormous book of Tashi by Anna Fienberg and Barbara Fienberg

cover image

Ill. by Kim Gamble, Allen and Unwin, 2010.
(Ages, 8-12) Highly recommended. Fantasy.  This is an absolute treat. For all those fans of the wonderful Tashi, and for those who do not know Tashi, then this compilation of all the stories will stand them in good stead. I can imagine mums and dads who knew and loved Tashi when the stories first began appearing on 1995, reading them to their kids in years to come from this amazing volume, grandparents reading them to their children's offspring, and teachers reading them to a new bunch of kids. Each chapter is a single adventure, originally published as a small book, told by Tashi of events in his amazing life. Jack takes it all in, the slating of a dragon, the story of the genie, the tale of the giants and so on, all imaginative and just great fun.
Jack tells his parents that he has a new friend, Tashi, but the story behind his becoming a friend does not faze them, even though he was brought by a swan from the warlord who owned him after his parents sold him to get enough money to escape! Jack's parents get on with their tasks although some of their questions do annoy Jack, and this interplay between parent and child forms a familiar and humerous dialogue the whole book through. In later stories the adventure involves Jack and Tashi rather than Tashi relating the tale, and these include stories about the phoenix, a stolen bus and an unexpected letter, amongst many others (32 in all) Jack and his parents along with Tashi are an endearing set of characters, subtly drawn and evocative of family relationships.
I particularly love the family intimacy surrounding the telling of stories, of the family sitting around listening to the tales told by Tashi or Jack, even when Dad is ill in bed with a cold, the family members stop all they are doing to listen to another story.
Fran Knight

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