Review Blog

May 16 2016

Dale by Adrian Beck

cover image

Stuff happens series, Penguin, 2016. ISBN 9781760141585
(Age: 7+) Recommended. School stories. Boys. Revenge. Bullying. Drama.
The popular Stuff happens series explores how boys cope with everyday situations at school, at home, with friends, playing sports and hanging out. Monvale Primary School is preparing to perform in a new musical The Schoolyard Jungle written by music teacher Mr. Johnson. Dale has overcome his fears, taken part in the auditions and been chosen for a special role. His Gran had coached him in a song from West Side Story - 'I feel pretty'! Of course, popular boy, super soccer and athletics star, Dan was given the lead as the 'roar-some' lion. Second Monkey is a role that just requires Dale to sing and dance with the animal chorus while Miranda plays the stop sign, and Boaz is the grey papier-mache boulder.
At the dress rehearsal, Dale becomes stuck in his bright orange monkey costume and makes a grand entrance right in the middle of Mr. Johnson's speech. Everyone is flabbergasted. Of course, Dan is quick to comment that Dale's outfit and hair colour are an exact match, 'you're a real ranga now, Dale!' The timeline of feelings at the end of this chapter shows Dale at an all time low, suffering embarrassment, humiliation and shame.
Is revenge the answer, does Dan need to be taught a lesson for this verbal harassment? When Dale decides to sabotage Dan's lion costume with Velcro, is it payback time?
Another high-interest chapter book for boys, for newly confident readers, exploring the trials and triumphs of school and family life.
Rhyllis Bignell

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