My Friend’s a Gris-Kwok by Malorie Blackman
About time really I reviewed one by our current Children’s Laureate, albeit not one of her more famous ones for older readers such as Pig Heart Boy or the Noughts and Crosses series. Instead, I’ve read a neat little read from my favourite for struggling and/or dyslexic readers, Barrington Stoke.
Mike only came round for a bit of fun, so how on Earth is it he ends up chasing his best friend’s little demon of a sister about their house? To complicate matters, he’s just found out Alex and his little sister Polly are both half Gris-Kwok, which means they can change into any animal they please. This would be awesome of course (a mate who can change shape!), except for the small matter of Polly having turned herself into a mouse and hidden herself somewhere about the house. Can Alex and Mike find her before Mum gets home?
Short and silly best describes this book. Anyone with a younger sibling will remember when they were like Alex and had to try to be in charge of hyperactive younger brothers and sisters (I know I do) and will sympathise with trying to control naughty Polly.
In amidst all the silly capers with elephants, flies, pussy cats and the like, my favourite bit was where the boys worked together to try to shepherd Polly-as-a-mouse into a spot where she could be caught and stopped from causing any more mischief. I also liked the condition that as half Gris-Kwok’s they can only change shape 3 times a day rather than any time they like. It did create a bit of a dilemma and one I was wondering about how it would get solved – how do you stop an elephant from breaking the sofa anyway, especially if you can’t now just change into anything to move her off of it?
As an added bonus, the book’s cover also opens out to include a fun little ‘Spot the Difference’ section on the back and some quick jokes at the front.
Silly, fun, and with more than enough elephantine behind and sofa-creaking to suit any reluctant reader! Oh, and as it’s a Barrington Stoke title, for dyslexic readers the reading age is 6, interest age 5-8.
Find My Friend’s a Gris-Kwok here!