Review Blog

Dec 04 2015

The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon

cover image

Greenwillow Books, 2015. ISBN 9780062320940
(Age: 10-12) Recommended. The Doldrums is not only the name of the local newspaper in the novel but also the state of Archer's mind.
Archer is a Helmsley and his grandparents are famous world adventurers. He lives in their home with his parents. The house is full of stuffed animals (who Archer communicates with) and collections and curios from around the world.
It is The Doldrums Press that announces that his grandparents have gone missing on an iceberg. Archer's mother recognizes the dreamer/ adventurer in him too and fearing the worst, forbids him to leave the house except for school.
Trapped in his own home Archer reaches out to Oliver his not so adventurous next-door neighbour and Adelaide a French girl with a story of her own. Together they plan to escape on their own expedition.
This is a gentle, whimsical story. The back-stories of the main characters and their developing friendship are central to the novel. Between them, the children have to deal with bullying, parental over-protection or neglect and being different.
The final chapters have a 'chase' ending with a mixture of excitement and humour.
The binding, jacket and illustrations give the novel a 'just right' old world feel, very like the Helmsley's own home.
The use of creams, burgundies and dark green used by the author in colour plates interspersed throughout the book, give a richness to the illustrations.
This is Nicolas Gannon's first book and I feel it will appeal to children in their middle primary years about 10 to 12 years old.
Nicolas Gannon has a beautiful website to go with his novel and has made a book trailer about The Doldrums.
I recommend this book for purchase.
Jane Moore

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