Review Blog

Mar 14 2013

Bewitched by Colin Thompson

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The Floods series, bk 12. Random House Australia, 2013. 227 pp. ISBN 9781742755304.
(Ages: 9-13) This is classic Colin Thompson humour in the same vein as the preceding books in The Floods series and some of his other work. For those unfamiliar with this series the Floods are the royal family of Transylvania Waters and also happen to be witches and wizards. This is no enchanting Harry Potter-esque fantasy world though. The Floods and the world within the world that Colin Thompson has created are quite simply eccentric. The large gothic Floods family with their quirky characteristics are reminiscent of The Addams Family, and Transylvania Waters itself is well known for donkeys that have the power of speech and differing personalities. Some are perpetually grumpy on account of not being horses and others are incredibly happy on account of mysterious chemicals in the clover and thistles.
In this edition of the series, King Nerlin is slipping into total Doolallyness. He even has an invisible friend called Geoffrey-Geoffrey, has started to enjoy the taste of grass sandwiches and refuses to walk past a tree without stopping to say hello. Hence the journey to see the Old Crones in hope of a cure begins. There are other sub-plots threaded throughout which are all nicely tied up at the end of the book with one of many convenient explosions.
Thompson's wit and humour shine through, however at times the plot seems to fall a bit flat or drag on. In addition the humour sometimes borders on being quite crude, despite its cleverness, such as when Nerlin loses control of his vowels and needs to wear incompetence pants. The sparse black and white illustrations and the regular footnotes add to the eccentricity of the text and make it a little more approachable for a first time reader to the series. While the humour is clever it may at times be beyond the grasp of younger children. Overall this was a little 'too silly' for me but I am sure it will be enjoyed by many children for exactly the same reason!
Nicole Smith-Forrest

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