Boy who thinks butterflies

15th September 2000 at 01:00
Joey Pigza is "wired". Whenever he sits, he feels as if he's on giant springs unless he's taken his "special meds". Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos (Corgi Yearling pound;4.99) is a bittersweet tale of a boy with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, who can't keep his mind or his body in one place for more than a split second, and the effect this has on his schooling, family and friends. Joeyand his family are drawn with enormous sympathy as characters of great individuality and strength. Gantos offers passages of great hilarity that assuage any sense that this is primarily an issues story. While it is an issue-led book suited to upper primary children and older, and while it may have limited appeal, its wit, verve and strong story make it a fascinating read.

Elaine Williams

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