Monday 5 March 2018

Stargazey World by Christine Dawe Book Review (age 8+)

Stargazey World is a crazy, wild ride of a book. It is full of everything that you can imagine - or that the main character Sheena can imagine anyway. A fiction book for children aged around 8+, everything starts ordinarily enough with a trip down to Cornwall for her cousin's wedding.

Sheena has naturally green, untamed hair and is teased by bullies because of it. She isn't exactly academic and struggles to pay attention in school, so the teachers find her a challenge too. She escapes into her imagination maybe a little too often, but in the unfamiliar setting in Cornwall, sharing a bunk bed for the first time and staying with relatives she barely knows, her imagination runs riot.

Sheena asks for the top bunk and it is from her bed that she hears strange noises coming from the animal wallpaper. Adventures are mere moments away, as her cousin Carys wakes and joins her, and they travel off to Stargazey World.

Stargazey World is quite unique, as are the characters within it. It has a touch of Narnia, Bedknobs & Broomsticks, The Magician's Apprentice, Alice In Wonderland, Peter Pan and several other well-known children's classics. A mix of real and imaginary, muddled with the confusion children feel living in a grown up world they don't entirely understand. It makes interesting reading for a child or an adult, and the ideas Sheena comes up with regularly raise a smile. She can't remember the names of the continents and gives them alternative phonetic names instead (You're Up, Horse Tray Leer etc), and an old flame of her uncle's even sets fire to their camp at one point. 'Dad jokes', and for a 9 year old they're the best kind.

Stargazey World is in fact full of Dad jokes, Sheena's Dad cracks some beauties throughout. It is a funny book and even the peril is so out-of-this-world that it can't really be taken seriously. There are a few more serious moments, Drought, for example, in human form is pretty horrifying on many levels and the fact she exists at all is bad enough. Overall though Stargazey World is malleable and Sheena has a degree of control over what happens next.

Stargazey World teaches the reader that there is always a solution. Sometimes obvious, but more often by thinking outside the box, you can overcome pretty much anything.

At 176 pages this is a full sized chapter book, but shouldn't intimidate independent readers aged around 8+. The style is very easily read and the story might be crazy, but it flows well and is very natural to follow. There are clear breaks and in fact you have a bundle of shorter adventures rolled up into one book. It may appeal initially more to girls, as both main characters are girls and the supporting cast are a wedding party and a host of animals, but it shouldn't be dismissed as a 'pink and fluffy' book. There is danger, fighting and adventure throughout.

Stargazey World is written by Christine Dawe and published by Matador Publishing, with  great cover illustration by Di Lorrimar. Available to buy now in paperback rrp £7.99 from good book shops, including Amazon (affiliate link). 

We were sent our copy of Stargazey World for review. Amazon links are affiliates, which costs you nothing extra, but may one day even add up to such riches as a whole English pound for me. It helps keep the website running...

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