In every school yard, there’s the ‘tall-story-teller’ – the kid that comes up with an outlandish story that is so fabulous, so exciting, and ever-so-slightly-plausible, that you just want to believe that what they’re telling you is true (I distinctly recall a kid in my grade two class telling us her uncle worked at the Big M factory and she could get us all the chocolate milk we wanted!). So what happens when the mum of a kid with a great imagination announces that there will be a surprise at dinner? Well, you jump to a few conclusions, of course!
The latest book by David Mackintosh, Lucky, is the story of a little boy who takes his mother’s hint at a surprise and turns it into all sorts of wonderful things. Our narrator and his brother, Leo, speculate – could it be crinkly chips for dinner? Tickets to the Amazing Yo-yo Super Show? A pool? Their imaginations run wild until they latch, with utter conviction, onto what surely must be the answer: an all-expenses-paid, two-week trip to Hawaii. They tell their school friends –
“Leo says, In Hawaii you drive about in golf carts and have spending money and drinks with fruit in them. And there are erupting volcanoes there, with rivers of boiling lava and clouds of rotten egg gas. Plus, to protect against volcanoes and falling coconuts, people wear grass skirts, flower necklaces and strum tiny guitars, called ukuleles.”
Of course the family aren’t going on an all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii but I’m not going to spoil the surprise.
The underlying message in the story is to appreciate what you have, starting with the obvious material things, but there’s also a beautifully subtle ‘appreciate your sibling’ theme running through the story.
Mackintosh’s humour shines on every page. The story is unpredictable, witty and the enthusiasm of the characters is contagious. Mackintosh’s illustrations are a brilliant mix of pencil and crayon drawings, and photo-collage and include lots of small, funny details that will have kids going back to pore over the pages again and again (I like the picture of the brothers sharing a bed).
This is one for little kids, big kids and grown-ups! Find Lucky at Book Depository, which delivers free to Australia.