Monday, November 1, 2010

"Tall Story" is Big Stuff

With a working vacation in the US out of the way, I'm finally back on the blog again. For weeks I've been wanting to put up something about Candy Gourlay's great little book, "Tall Story." I got to know Candy at the Bologna Children's Book Fair a couple of years ago and was sure then it was only a matter of time (very little time) before she would get her first book published.

"Tall Story" is a poignant, funny tale about the love that develops between a sister and brother who couldn't be more different -- on the outside. Andi is 12 years old, short, and lives in London. Bernard is 16, eight feet tall, and lives in the Philipines. What they have in common is their mother and a love of basketball. Amazingly, Andi is the one who can really play the game, not Bernard! When Bernard finally gets to move to London to join his family, he brings a whole load of Philipino superstition (or is it magic) with him. Candy deftly mixes real life drama, culture clash and something approaching magical realism, keeping the reader right there with her the whole time.

With "Tall Story" Candy has hit a game-winning three-pointer (for you non-basketballers, that's real good). The biggest thing about "Tall Story" is not eight-foot Bernard, but the magical way Candy Gourlay brings two very different people and cultures together, and makes us believe it was meant to be.

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