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Two Reviews: Room By Emma Donoghue And Hairy Hezekiah By Dick King-Smith

October 21, 2010

Here’s a book to put on your “must read “ list:

Room : a novel by Emma Donoghue

Written from the view of a 5 year old boy, this novel draws you into a room like no other.

Jack and his mother are confined to an 11 square foot room with no windows, and no means of experiencing the outside world apart from a television.  Ma occupies her day entertaining and educating her son who was born in the room and for him this is reality as compared to the make-believe world on television.

Room is a compelling read, written along the sad, but heart-touching lines of The Boy in Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

And a book for children and adults who like reading to children:

Hairy Hezekiah  by Dick King-Smith

I have been a fan of Dick King-Smith for many years now since the time when I enjoyed reading his tales to my children.  Now I like to share them with my grandchildren.  I recently picked up some that were new to me from the other branches of our library.  [Isn’t it great that our library card can be used throughout the Tararua District!]

One of them is Hairy Hezekiah, who happens to be a Bactrian camel; that is, a camel with two humps. Hezekiah’s story begins in an English zoo and from there he begins his adventures. Being such a unique animal, it is amusing to follow his encounters with other animals and humans.

Dick King–Smith has a delightful knack of being able to infiltrate his stories with factual titbits so children can pick up a great deal of interesting trivia along the way.  In Hairy Hezekiah, for example, we learn the name of the Biblical Hezekiah’s wife (Hephzibar), that ostriches lay very large eggs in the open without a nest, and of course all about Bactrian camels.

There is also the occasional bit of moral advice interspersed in a humorous way (“for politeness costs nothing”) but presented, in an amusing way, with repetition. I just love his expressive phrases we can all relate to using in our vocabulary:-  “misery-guts”, “keep your hair on” and  “he polished off the lot”.

In all, I thoroughly recommend Hairy Hezekiah and indeed all Dick King-Smith’s great little books and agree he is “The master of animal adventures”



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