Review Blog

Mar 24 2011

Neighbours by Colin Thompson

cover image

The Floods Book 1. Random House, 2005. ISBN: 978142751009.
(Ages 10+) Definitely not an ordinary family, The Floods are more than just a little different - a family of witches and wizards, living in a suburban neighbourhood. Having had six very unusual children, Mordonna convinced her husband, Nerlin, she would like a 'normal pretty little girl she could do cooking and sewing with.' This lead to the arrival of Betty, a normal looking girl possessing magical powers which don't always work as planned.
Unfortunately, the family in the house next door leaves a bit to be desired and much of what they do irritates the Floods and upsets their everyday activities and routines. Gradually, the actions of the Floods bring about the demise of the Dent family, thereby restoring order to their own lives.
In this title, Thompson has echoes of his picture book The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley. As was Riley, the rat, the Floods are happy with the simple life and don't feel the need to be constantly trying to outdo other people to have the 'biggest and best' of everything, despite the fact they could go and create anything they desire for themselves. Having only previously read and enjoyed The Floods Family Files, I found this to be incredibly amusing and was thoroughly entertained by the cleverly written footnotes. Thompson's attitude toward reality television programs made me laugh out loud. The addition of his clever illustrations, including tombstones announcing 'Here lies Chapter',  small sketches and full page drawings, add to the humour and take away the need to rely on one's own imagination to visualise the different characters. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Jo Schenkel

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