'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Review: The Adventures of a Late-Night Swearer

I love it when I come across a book with a really unique take on the world... and this is one of those.

The 'warning' at the beginning says it all:

"Reading this book is a bit like walking through long grass. Or a messy bedroom. It's pretty easy to lose your way and go off on another track or find an interesting something to ponder. Never mind about this, just keep going. Sooner or later you'll get to the end (or the other side of the long grass or the bedroom) and you have made your own pathway (which is pretty exciting stuff when  you think about it)."

You can't help but wonder what you're in for with an introduction like that.

This is the story of Speedy Simpson, who is the best at everything. If he wants to do something new, he studies it first to make sure he knows it better than anyone. Then he hides the library books so no one else can find them, and he never gives away his tricks - after all, what's the point of being the best if you just go and tell everyone else your secrets?

Yes, he's the best at everything at the school... until a French girl, Bebe LaMouche, arrives. Bebe has a very special skill: she's the best swearer ever. She can even swear in front of teachers and get away with it.

Speedy wants to learn how to do this, so he sets off to find out the worst swear word ever, one that will shock everyone and allow him to take Bebe's title as the best swearer. But will he find what he's looking for? Or something even worse than a swear word?

The Adventures of a Late-Night Swearer is such a fun story. Its tale is told amongst lots of other bits and pieces, from notes and mini-guides to word definitions. In fact, the definitions were my favourite part, and they will distract readers from the story in all their witty glory. But never mind this; as the introduction promises, the story will draw you back in soon enough. Young readers will be all the better for adding to their vocabulary, learning different uses for and plays on words, and working their way through the different parts to the story.

Oh, and a note for parents - no nasty words are revealed in the telling of this story.

Title: The Adventures of a Late-Night Swearer
Author: Nette Hilton
Illustrator: Tom Jellett
Publisher: University of Queensland Press, $14.95 RRP
Publication Date: August 2008
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780702236525
For ages: 4 - 8
Type: Novel

This book is available online