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The Loblolly boy is back!

March 19, 2012

The Loblolly Boy and The Sorcerer by James Norcliffe (children’s fiction)

NOMINEE FOR NZ POST CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARDS 2012

Reviewed by Keith Smith

Ben is Benjy, Benjy is Ben…Ben is the Loblolly boy, able to fly, (but unable to eat!), invisible to the world. Benjy is a skate-rat, a thief and a vandal, at odds with his world of “dropkicks and dipsticks,” and the Loblolly boy mantle switches between the two.

The Loblolly boy, lonely and isolated in his invisible world, is desperately searching for his father, his home, and the Sensitive boy who stole his life. This Sensitive boy has taken Ben’s life, in its subtly-changed parallel universe, and messed it up…and when Ben regains his own reality, he finds himself in a ton of trouble. Benjy flies off leaving Ben suspended from school, facing charges of theft, tagging and vandalism, his father puzzled and disappointed, Janice at sixes and sevens.

 

Can Ben repair the mess? And what part will the sinister and dangerous Sorcerer play?  Ben must constantly think on his feet and confront the unexpected, occasionally aided (and often hindered) by memorable characters like Captain Bass, three beautiful blind Jugglers, and the wildly unpredictable Gadget Man.

This rich and gripping sequel to ‘The Loblolly boy’ is full of twists, suspense, quirky humour, well-defined characters and mindboggling adventures. Norcliffe has invented a highly original fantasy world, his underlying message is that good will triumph – but only with a great deal of struggle and persistence. The author displays more of his strong, at times beautiful prose style, intended for young readers but accessible to all ages. Highly recommended, but best if the reader completes Norcliffe’s original The Loblolly Boy first.

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