Oleg and Emma are friends. Their home lives are less than perfect (Emma's mum works all hours just to keep her family fed and Oleg's dad is unemployed and suffering with depression, leaving Oleg to care for his grandmother) but they are held together by their joint need to escape reality and find warmth and friendship with each other. They share a love of mischief and could never have imagined that their mad shenanigans could one day set them on an adventure of a lifetime that would not only bond their friendship forever but would introduce them to weird and wonderful happenings. By creating an imaginary boy to confuse the new cover teacher, they manage to open a whole can of worms that challenges every sense of the impossible. Ben Brooks's imagination knows no bounds as he takes the reader on a hilarious adventure. The wild and crazy ride hurtles us on a wave of emotions and nail-biting situations. Each character is brought to life with ease and exuberance as we eagerly follow the storylines that interweave. Yet, there is an undertone of understanding to the difficulties that lie behind each of these characters' lives - a nod at the fact that we should never really judge a book by its cover. A must read for all children (big and small) aged 7+ and to any who love a laugh out loud book that pushes all senses of the imagination to their limits. It is a masterpiece of creativity and empathy rolled into one big feelgood tale. Links for friendship, bullying, anxiety, depression, challenging adversity, accepting diversity, supporting others, hope, belief, imagination and creativity.
A fast-moving, quirky, adventure story from the writer of the award winning, Stories for Boys Who Dare To Be Different. It's just before Christmas and Emma and Oleg decide to have fun and invent a new classmate. Together they write an essay written by the imaginary, Sebastian Cole, about what he did at the weekend. Later, inside their secret den, out of a cardboard spaceship steps a boy who announces his name is Sebastian Cole! As mote impossible things start to happen including encounters with snowwomen, and a cowboy gardener, the trio are pursued by the Institute of Unreality while they attempt to keep the impossible boy alive, all in time for Christmas. Great fun!
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Ben Brooks has followed suit as with Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different in terms of enthralling reading. Oleg and Emma, two close friends, have lost their friend, who moved away. In order to fill the void, they created a fictional friend 'Sebastian Cole'. Sebastian, however, does not stay a figment of their imaginations and enters their world with gusto, excitement, a huge heart, and generosity of spirit. The story itself is a metaphor of one of the underlying messages of the book that nothing is impossible, especially in stories. There is a pulse and a rhythm to this narrative that keeps the reader hooked. Strange characters are encountered throughout the book who intrigue and provoke questions. Sebastian entering their worlds takes Emma and Oleg to exciting and risky places. Both characters are launched out of their comfort zones and learn huge lessons about who they really are in the process. The reader cares for Oleg and Emma, they have trials and tribulations to overcome and in the grim reality of their truths, Sebastian's gives them a porthole to suspend their disbelief and escape into an adventure, an adventure that calls on their families, friends and the strange school premises manager! A true gift for a reader and any KS2 classroom. There is much discussion in the teacher world at the moment about children developing character and resilience. This book is a perfect accompaniment to this idea. I for one will be investing in this book for our KS2 classrooms and, of course, for my nieces and nephews. Sebastian's positivity, joie de vivre and adventurous spirit are infectious and much needed: as he said, ...to be alive is a wonderful adventure, make every second count.