A Few months ago I reviewed a self published title. Not something I, or many bloggers, often do (rightly or wrongly), but Eric Appleby: Zero to Hero written by Dan Worsley is good, really really good and as Book Monsters is about recommending great books it deserved a place on the site. You can read the review here:
– Eric Appleby Book Monster Review
As a result of thoroughly enjoying Eric and becoming a fully fledged member of Team Eric I read Impossible Tales which is a collection of short stories also by Dan and also absolutely wonderful. And now, after a lot of hard work by Dan Worsley we welcome onto the bookshelves More Impossible Tales!
Firstly, let me just sing Dan’s praises for a second. This gentleman works hard! He travels round libraries and schools in Blackpool and surrounding areas promoting reading for pleasure, encouraging and inspiring children to write and shouting out loud of his love of libraries. Dan’s books are the result of his passion and determination. He is very loyally backed by an army of supporters (of which I was happy to one this time around) which is testament to his good natured and kind character. All the while writing three very fantastic, Book Monster recommended books! Can you fit your head through the Book Monster HQ front door now Dan?
So, down to Book Monster business. I’m a big lover of short stories, for adults and children. They are accessible, quick and very often incredibly clever forms of fiction. A capsule of wonderful storytelling. There aren’t nearly enough short story collections for children out there, which is a very great shame.
More Impossible Tales is such a collection. If your children enjoy short stories by Andy Griffiths or Paul Jennings (they are wonderful), then this is absolutely the ideal book. I have it on good authority, from the horse’s mouth actually, that Dan was inspired by Jenning’s in particular and it comes through very much in his Impossible Tales. Don’t misunderstand me, these are completely unique stories. He has been inspired, but certainly hasn’t copied.
So, what can you expect from More Impossible Tales? When we say “impossible”, we’re talking wild hair coming to life, bogeys with super powers, and magical cameras! This is a wacky, wild and action packed set of stories which children will absolutely love!
This, in some respects, is a challenging review to write. I don’t want to reveal the contents of the book. This is one aspect I loved about each story. Reading the title, trying to work out what was going to happen, reading what actually did happen and then reacting accordingly. My reactions varied wildly from laughing my socks off, to shock horror and in some instances disgust! Yes there are some rather gross stories in here involving bouncing bogies and digging around in cow pats, two of which are referenced in my Book Monster image at the top. In fact Dan may well be donning a pair of rubber gloves and safety goggles in a library near you to retell one particular horrible story! You have been warned! But this is what children love isn’t it? It’s what they want to read about. They want to be tickled, they want to be able to shout “Uuurgh” as loud as possible. Disgusted yet desperate to hear more! However, Dan and his team have worked really hard to ensure there’s nothing in here to offend. It’s all light hearted, good humoured and very carefully honed fun
The stories Dan has come up with are imaginative, full of fun and magic. Despite the fantasy elements, they are also very down to earth tales about children that children themselves will identify with, in situations they understand and dealing with anxieties they experience. It is clear that this is important to Dan, being able to connect with children he’s writing for, and he absolutely succeeds in his mission!
Each story in More Impossible Tales is individual and unique. Dan is a master at creating great characters that you’re interested in and passionate about, and that’s some feat in only half a dozen or so pages. This is the power of the short story writer.
In schools More Impossible Tales certainly has buckets of value. Firstly just in engaging children to read, but it would be an ideal book for teachers to read to whole classes. Each story is the perfect length for a quick, but worthwhile storytelling session. It would be a great springboard for children to write their own short stories. They are about bringing everyday situations to life, adding elements of crazy or magic to create an exciting and fun story. Brilliant examples to give children to aid their own creative writing.
Most of the stories in More Impossible Tales have a lovely feel good ending, with a positive message, such as acceptance, friendship, determination. ‘Fear of the Unknown‘ is one example of this, a beautiful and thought provoking story, which broke my heart a little bit.
Last, but not least I also have to give a shout out to the wonder that is illustrator Martin Spore. His cover artwork is brilliant, really grabbed my eye and will make this book stand out on the library and bookshop shelves. It reflects the fun and silliness lurking under the cover, and has already had people taking matching shocked faced selfies! Really great fun! Each story begins with its own icon style graphic created by Martin, which adds to the sense of anticipation and also breaks up the pages with fab imagery! This is one of my favourites:
To sum up, with More Impossible Tales Dan Worsley has provided a collection of short stories which pack a magical and feel good punch straight to the heart, while eagerly tickling away at your funny bones!
Please pay a little, or a long, visit to Dan Worsley’s website here:
And thank you for reading this impossible Book Monster review.
WIN! Your very own personally dedicated signed copy of More Impossible Tales by Dan Worsley. All you need to do is bob over to Twitter, to @BookMonsterAlly and retweet my pinned tweet. For an extra entry, please comment on this blog post. That’s all!! It’s not impossible!
The winner will be announced on Wednesday 31st August.