Almost totally riveting;Children's books

5th March 1999 at 00:00
WHIZZIWIG RETURNS. By Malorie Blackman. Puffin pound;3.99.

DANGEROUS REALITY. By Malorie Blackman. Doubleday pound;10.99.

Taken together, these novels show just how versatile Malorie Blackman is - able to move easily from comic fantasy for younger juniors to technological drama for over-l0s.

Whizziwig Returns is a sequel to the wonderful story in which Blackman introduced the alien who only grants the accidental wishes we make for others. In the original, Blackman seamlessly wove the theme of unselfishness into the comedy; in the sequel, in which Whi* zi-wig returns to write a report on Earth, the humour is more slapstick and the narrative episodic. But the story has its moments, as when a teacher's wish that his pupils could speak like Shakespeare comes true.

Dangerous Reality is also a return to familiar Blackman territory: contemporary technology and its ethics, specifically the computer technology that she dealt with so memorably in Hacker.

Dominic tells the story of his attempts to save his mum's invention, the Virtual Interactive Mobile System, from a saboteur. Blackman constructs a sub-plot about family and friendship around Dominic's attempts to come to grips with the differences between people and machines, simulation and reality.

In both these books, though, the second visit to the territory is less successful than the first. In Dangerous Reality the story takes unexpected turns at the end, but the writing lacks the tautness of earlier novels like the splendid Pig-heart Boy. Blackman not quite at her best - but still well worth reading.

Michael Lockwood

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now