Review Blog

Nov 30 2009

A small free kiss in the dark by Glenda Millard

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Read by Craig Annis. Allen and Unwin, 2009. Louis Braille Audio, 2009. 5CD's, lasting 5 hours.
(Ages: Middle School)Recommended. When homeless, street kid, Skip, goes to the library to read books about art, his favourite subject, he finds a young boy, Max, waiting for his mother. War has started, and people are fleeing, the library building is partly demolished by bombs. Skip takes Max to safety, and they meet up with Billy, an older man who Skip knows. The three find shelter in an old amusement park, now made derelict by war, and here they scavenge from shops nearby, keeping a wary eye on the hotel, now used as a staging post by one of the armies. Billy tells Skip that they are in the third army, the ones who do not want war, and through the days and nights of the conflict, Skip comes to realise that there are many other people looking for shelter, avoiding war, making up the third army like them.
One day, another young girl, Tia, joins them with her baby Sixpence. The five muck in together to stay alive and out of sight, but all the while, Skip wants to find somewhere perfectly safe. The boy Max, tells them of his grandfather's place, out of town, a place where they could grow vegetables and live safely. And so they decide to try to find this place. The last section of the book tells of their escape from the city and light hearts as they near their destination.
This is a beautiful story, full of hope and survival, resonating with the bond growing between the cluster of disparate people, making them a family, something Skip has not been part of for some time. The writing with its beautiful imagery is just perfect, and this audio version, read by Craig Innis is an amazing thing to listen to. Innis' voice is just right, as he tells the story of Skip in the first person. His voice sings with the enthusiasm and idealism of the 12 year old, resonates with the older and wiser Billy, squeaks with the sound of the child, Max and takes on the voice of he sometimes devious Tia, not really telling them what she is about. The 5 hours listening to this audio version of this superb book went in no time.
Fran Knight

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