Review Blog

Sep 19 2013

Eric Vale: Off the Rails by Michael Gerard Bauer

cover image

Ill. by Joe Bauer. Omnibus Books, 2013. ISBN: 9781862919945.
Recommended. I already have a cue of year 5 boys waiting at my door to be the first one to read the latest Eric Vale adventure. Such is the appeal of this series beginning with Epic Fail and followed by Super Male.
Eric Vale is in trouble with Principal Porter. His parents have been called in to hear his explanation of the 'very disturbing incident' which occurred that afternoon whilst on an excursion to the Museum.
The rest of the book is Eric's side of the story explaining how the school librarian Mrs Booth and a book titled Aliens - The Untold Story, Eric's best friend Chewey, and relief teacher Miss Allen, are responsible for Eric's bizarre behaviour over the school week and at the Museum.
The cartoons styled illustrations on each page add a hilarious commentary to the text as Eric becomes embroiled in the search for the truth about Miss Allen. The adventure of Agent Derek Dale as drawn by Eric in his journal, as a story within a story, adds to the fun. These illustrations are certainly integral to the success of the Eric Vale stories.
I love the way the chapters have been labelled the beginning, the middle and the end of his side of the story, reinforcing the narrative style of his story and separating it from the current events in the Principal's office.
Using bold and larger sized font to highlight individual words breaks up the text and adds to the appeal for children who find the closer, more regular text forms over a whole page daunting.
I look forward to the next adventure. What else rhymes with Vale? I think I'll start a competition with my enthusiastic fans, whoever gets the right rhyme reads the next book first.
Sue Keane

Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
2017 Children's Peace Literature Award Short List
Inkys Awards 2017
2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award
2017 NSW Premier's History Awards
The Queensland Literary Awards 2017
CBCA Awards 2017 winners
Environment Award for Children's Literature 2017
Speech Pathology shortlist 2017
2017 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals
2017 Branford Boase Award
2017 UKLA Book Awards

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
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Bookmark and poster templates