Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 168
Reason for Reading : I love his Redwall series and picked this up randomly from the library

Six short stories by Liverpool author Brian Jacques are collected in this anthology of horror stories for children. I love his Redwall series which I have mostly completed but aim to read through again, but haven't read anything else he has written. I picked this up on a whim from my local library as it looked like a fun easy read.

The Ribbajack
Archibald Smifft is left outside a school as a baby with a note pineed to him saying to take care of him and a warning that he bites. In his basket is a large pile of rubies so the school take him in and continue to recieve rubies each year to pay for his schooling. He grows up to be a horrible 11 year old and one day the headmaster and matron slip past his booby traps to enter his room where they find a collection of occult paraphenalia hidden under his bed. Archibald is trying to create his very own monster and after quizzing his frightened room mates he learns of the Ribbajack. It is a monster created by the mind with the purpose of making a single enemy disappear. On completing it's task the Ribbajack disappears and cannot be called again, but if it fails it takes it master with it instead. Archibald thinks he is clever enough to use his Ribbajack more than once, but nothing quite goes to plan.

Smile and a Wave
Maggie is given a new coat by her parents that just isn't cool or fashionable. She tries to leave it behind in school one day so she can pretend she has lost it, but her mother finds out and sends her back to retrieve it despite being a Saturday. If she doesn't come back with the coat Maggie can forget about seeing her friends and going to the ice rink later that evening. She finds the school surprisingly unlocked and lets herself in. Someone or something evil is lurking inside however.

The All Ireland Champion versus the Nye Add
Roddy Mooney is the All Ireland Champion Fisherman despite being only 19. One day he comes across Little Micky Hennessy fishing for a Nye Add in the local river. A Nye Add is half fish and half woman who can drive a man insane with her song. Looking into the river all Roddy sees is a large fish and he fetches his fishing tackle to try to catch it for his impressive collection. Unfortunately the fish has other ideas and what turns out to be a Kelpie causes him serious problems.

The Mystery of Huma D'Esta
Jason Hunter is the school's bully. He is a good looking kid, the best at sports that require little dedication or stamina, but lacking in intelligence. New girl Huma D'Este is able to stand up to him on her first day and firmly put him in his place using her superior height, strength and intelligence. She has strange haunting eyes and that night he follows them in a half-dream. Huma D'Este is only an anagram of her real name which Jason tragically finds out.

Miggy Mags and the Malabar Sailor
Miguela McGrail known as Miggy Mags lives on the dockside in Liverpool. While her father is away sailing on The Bengal Pearl she is looked after by her bully of an uncle Eric who owns and runs the Mersey Star Boardinghouse where she works. Her only friend is cook Atty Lok until her father brings her a pet mongoose she names Sailor. Atty says she has a friend for life who will be brave and protect her as it is known for being able to kill snakes. Her uncle believes she has a rat and sets out to trap Sailor.

Rosie's Pet
At 8 Rosie Glegg is a menace in her home town of Nether Cum Hopping. Everyone, child and adult, is afraid of her until she befriends Charlie Lupus and her behaviour is tempered.

This was a fun collection of tales, my favourite being Miggy Mags and the Malabar Sailor. Perhaps this is because it is set in Liverpool, Brian's home town as well as mine, and I loved Sailor. A lot of them saw bullies getting their just deserts which is always a good message for children and adults. A little spooky in places but definitely recommended.


heather (errantdreams) said...

This is SO going on my wish list! What wonderful-sounding stories!

Ana S. said...

The stories do sound great. I like the cover too.

Rhinoa said...

Heather - I hope you enjoy it if you do get it. Have you read any of his other books?

Nymeth - Yeah the cover is the Ribbajack which is a strange mismatch of creatures. I think you would enjoy it.