Puddle Goblins by David Melling
|Puddle Goblins by David Melling|
|Genre: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Portable puddles, slimy things, and the stupidest goblins to populate a book for the under 8s anywhere, make a fun and enjoyable volume that will be hugely popular with the target audience.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 128||Date: September 2008|
|Publisher: Hodder Children's Books|
The water goblins, as their name suggests, need to stay wet to survive. Therefore they also need the secret belonging to their arch rivals, the puddle goblins, who have managed to work out how to make puddles portable. Yes, they can just cart them around and flollop them down when they need a place to stay wet, safe and protected. Sure, they might still get frozen over in winter, but that's the price you pay.
Unfortunately, puddle goblins aren't the brightest critters out there. (No-one is intelligent in this world of David Melling's.) They also have a brilliant talent for hurling themselves down implausibly deep wells, and spending months at the bottom talking to a tin can. Meanwhile, one of the survivors up top thinks he has trained his pet stone to play fetch.
You don't come to this series for eloquent, witty and intelligent conversation between the characters. But that's not to say there is no intelligence in the scenarios. Quite ridiculous characters, in daft circumstances, need rescuing when there's a great lack of friendship and skill handicapping proceedings. Added to that is the gentlest kind of gross-out humour – these goblins think nothing of sharing their trousers with slugs, snails or even fish.
Thus is the plot, as such, set up – idiotic goblin down well, inept rescuers, and spying water goblins. The jumps between them might not be timed as perfectly as they could have been, but the gentle story I would think is superb for the young person choosing her or his first reading. Added to that is the marvellous artwork by the author, which continues to be a credit to the series. There's also a sense of the surreal again, which I liked – the characters are just so daft to begin with, but there's also a malevolent storm cloud populating this oddball world.
It might not be a world the young reader would turn to for many years, but I can see these volumes having some staying power on the shelves. I almost dismissed elements of the first book in the series as being a waste of space, but here I find the DVD extra-style encyclopaedic features good fun, and added value, if they do make for the whole volume becoming slightly repetitive.
Memory has the first book as even more wacky and out-there as regards twists, turns and lunacy, but I must remind myself this has portable puddles in. I shouldn't complain, therefore, and nor will the purchaser of Puddle Goblins. It remains a good value and very well produced little adventure for the unsavoury tyke in your life.
We must thank Hodder for kindly sending the Bookbag a review copy.
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