Review Blog

Apr 13 2017

The leaky story by Devon Sillert

cover image

Ill. by Anil Tortop. EK Books, 2017. ISBN 9781925335392
The Blossburn family are engaged in their usual activities - parents engrossed in a television program while J.J. is playing with toys on the mat. No one is taking any notice of the books on the shelves, least of all the one that is slowly swelling as it demands to be read. Only when it swells so much that it falls over and the letters start to spill out with the drip-drips becoming plop-plops does J.J. notice and try to stem the flood. In fact it is not until the plop-plops become a splish-splash and the living room starts to look like an aquarium as all sorts of sea creatures invade it and swamp their recliner chairs that Mr and Mrs even start to notice that something might be amiss. But their attention is grabbed when pirates sail through and challenge them and the fun really begins.
Young children will love this concept as they willingly suspend their reality and let their imaginations take over. Canberra-based author Devon Sillert was awarded the Australian Postgraduate Award for her research into speculative fiction for young adults and it seems that this is a great example of the "what-if' story starter. What if your favourite story came to life right there in your living room? Can you imagine the responses the children could draw, just as Anil Tortop has done with Sillert's words in such a colourful, fun way? Let them tell you about a book they have bought or borrowed that they just couldn't wait to read and what it would be like if it came true right there in their home. A great way to start their writing careers.
Or even if they all started with the same story - an intriguing way to introduce the concept that even with the same information we all perceive and interpret things differently because of our previous experiences and understandings. Similarly, they might like to turn the story around and talk about how 17th century pirates would feel in a 21st century home.
The final page is very satisfying as the Blossburns have all discovered the magic of words and the adventures they can take them on - what will they have happen in their living room next? What adventure would the children like to have? A trailer is available on YouTube.
Barbara Braxton

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