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

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Review: Pyro Watson and the Hidden Treasure

I don't think there's anything better than the things a child's imagination can dream up.

So a book about this very idea should be fantastic, right? Well, let's see...

Pyro is stuck with his Aunt Mor (and her latest boyfriend) in her old campervan while his mother is away and his father is busy at work. And he would rather be anywhere but here. He wants to escape.

So, escape he does - via his imagination, that is. His alter ego, San Simeon the brave and daring pirate, goes on adventures far and wide with his trusty crew.

But Pyro can't escape everything. He can't get away from the town bullies, who have decided to take over the beach and refuse entry to other kids. It's lucky, then, that Pyro has made a new friend, and together they must try and become as brave and strong as San Simeon himself.

Can they win this battle?

Hilton has, once again, taken a genre and turned it on its head. She has an amazing way of making a story so unique, and characters so enthralling and true to life, that opening one of her books is akin to disappearing into another world for hours on end.

This is a book that's easy to lose yourself in. Not only through the wonderful story, but the sense of eternity created within it. Imagine yourself being stuck in Pyro's situation as a child, for ten days - ten whole days! This is a huge space of time for him, and this feeling is added to by the chapter setups. The book is broken down day by day, and each day begins with a new 'Chapter 1'. It's such an odd feeling, to find yourself nearing the end of a book yet seeing the heading 'Chapter 2' atop a page. Will this ever end? you wonder. And do I even want it to?

Rogers' black and white illustrations, dotted throughout the story, add a sense of adventure with bits and bobs like treasure maps as well as character drawings.

Pyro Watson and the Hidden Treasure is a fantastic insight into the imagination of a child, and will delight both boys and girls (and parents who love to raid their children's bookshelves!).

Title: Pyro Watson and the Hidden Treasure
Author: Nette Hilton
Illustrator: Gregory Rogers
Publisher: Random House, $16.95 RRP
Publication Date: July 2009
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781741664164
For ages: 8 - 12
Type: Novel

This book is available online