Review Blog

Apr 17 2008

Woodenface by Gus Grenfell

cover image

Usborne, 2007.
(Ages 10+) This is a frightening story set in the year 1650, in a real village in the Yorkshire Pennines. Gus Grenfell vividly tells the story of Meg a young girl who believes that the wooden figures she carves have the ability to move and speak to her. There is the Seeing-Eye, which helps her see things when she is not present, Dilly-Lal who dances and Bolly-Bolly who has been carved from a special yew tree. Meg is accused of witchcraft and flees her village hoping to meet her father who has been selling cloth in a nearby town. However disaster has also befallen him when he is charged of stealing cloth and put in goal. Meg is forced to help her father and fight the evil demon that stalks her with the assistance of some travelling performers.

Grenfell has written a compelling and fast moving story with magic and superstition at its core. His writing is very vivid and brings to life a time when people believed that demons could possess people and ancient wood had the ability to come alive. The smells and scenes of 17th England, its marketplaces, taverns, travelling performers, cemeteries and woods and the horror of the gibbet are all skillfully portrayed.

All the characters, including minor ones, seem real. The evil Mr Sutcliffe who is ready to lie and murder to get his own way and the dithering minister are well portrayed as are the children who mature as they face adversity. The power of good versus evil is a central theme and permeates the story.

This book has been put on the longlist for the Branford Boase Award. It is a memorable if frightening read.
Pat Pledger

Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
Miles Franklin longlist 2017
Reading Children's Book Prize 2017
Klaus Flugge Prize shortlist 2017
Branford Boase Award shortlist 2017
Text Prize 2017
NSW Premier Literary Awards shortlist 2017
Aurealis Awards winners
YABBA Awards shortlist 2017
Stella Prize 2017
2017 YALSA Teens' Top Ten Nominees
CBCA shortlists 2017
YA Book Prize 2017 shortlist
School Library Association Information Book Award 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Science fiction and fantasy lists SAETA conference 2015
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Books for boys
Bookmark and poster templates