Review Blog

Sep 20 2019

The boy who could fly and other magical plays for children by Ursula Dubosarsky

cover image

Illus: by Amy Golbach. Second look Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9780994528094.
(Age: 9+) Themes: Plays; Myths - Ancient Greeks and Romans. Taking ideas from ancient Greek and Roman literature and mythology, Ursula Dubosarsky has applied her deft touch to transform these ancient stories into simple play scripts suited to performance . . . or just reading for pleasure for younger readers. In the stories we are introduced to mythical and legendary characters that are sometimes well known, with other characters that are less 'famous', and all eleven stories detail their struggles and destiny to overcome their own personality faults or to deal with the vagaries of the gods. Mostly we see the humour in the actions of humans and gods, and the play-scripts are whimsical and easily read. Introducing the traits of characters like Icarus, Narcissus, Midas, Venus, Juno, Apollo and the impossibilities of being turned into animals are all inherently amusing and yet sometimes salutary. The illustrations by Amy Golbach are simple, cartoon-like black and white drawings that add light-hearted detail. A book of plays is not to everyone's delight, but this is a good format for these stories, and also adds the benefit of introducing the script as a text-type for young writers.
This would be a good book to recommend to children who have an interest in mythology or drama, or even as a resource in schools for introducing alternative text types. Suited for ages 9+.
Carolyn Hull

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