Review Blog

May 09 2014

The adventures of Stunt Boy and his amazing wonder dog Blindfold by Lollie Barr

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Pan Macmillan, 2014. ISBN 9781742613673.
Recommended 7-12. Combining the appeal of a circus with the world of stunt motorcycles is sure to attract young readers who dream of an exciting life. From the opening sentence 'Someone was out to get my dad.' , the reader is aware that the main character, William Stoked, aka Stunt Boy is determined to find out the truth behind the accident that has left his father and owner of Stoked Stunt Circus in a coma. The fact is that everyone else including his sister Jem believes it was an unfortunate accident.
With only the help of his best friend Benny, an aspiring Olympic wrestler who is not a circus member, and Blindfold the dog, Stunt's suspicions centre on rival Circus owner Barry Chesterly of Chesterley's Family Circus from across town. In his ambition to find the truth and save the circus, he accuses many of his circus family of complicity, attracts the attention of the local police and alienates Benny.
The arrival of Caleb Calloway a famous stunt motorcyclist who promises to perform in the Stunt Circus raises more issues for Stunt, attracts unwanted attention from the media and his father's twin brothers, but assists in revealing the surprise saboteur. A Monster truck, some amazing stunt riding and an angry rampant elephant bring the story to an exciting conclusion.
Written in an easy to read style the voice of Stunt is believable as he agonises over his father's situation and argues with his sister. There is almost a feel of a movie script with the visuals of stunts and circus setting. The experience of the author with the Spaghetti Circus brings realism which is reflected in the description of circus life and the odd hint given by Stunt, for example how to climb a rope.
Sue Keane

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