Review Blog

Apr 17 2020

Bab Sharkey and the animal mummies: The prickly battle by Andrew Hansen and Jessica Roberts

cover image

Illus. by Jessica Roberts. Walker Books, 2020. ISBN: 9781760651190. 240pp.
This is a book for a very particular readership. The title is indicative of its style and content. Many children would have difficulty navigating the complex action which jumps about from past to present against a too exotic Egyptian setting. The vocabulary and word games may appeal to a niche market - perhaps children who are very much besotted and /or obsessed with Egyptian culture. To most children, the allusions would "go through to the keeper." This, combined with the difficulty of working out the interrelationships amongst the too many characters may make it hard for the young reader to relate to them. The characters themselves are very strange. One example is the "Unpharaoh" (a strange phenomenon to come to grips with). Another is the somehow personified Pharaoh's beard. This may be too large a leap for most children.
The action is frantically paced and the plot is convoluted. The clever references are nuanced and obscure. Young readers may have difficulty connecting with the storyline.
This book may be representative of a new genre which appeals to a new breed of readers. It may be like the "cult movie". The author obviously enjoys the word play but only a child who has been thoroughly initiated into this mode of thinking could really keep up with it.
Wendy Jeffrey

BUY IT ON booktopia
Archived Blog Entries