Sep 29, 2009

SKELLIG by David Almond

posted by Jennie

I loved this story. For ages 9-12.

review by Jill Murphy at
The Bookbag

... a sensuous, magical book and a fantastic introduction to David Almond's work.

Michael's life is turning upside down. His mother has just had a baby - a new sister for him. But she was an early baby, far too early, and she's very, very ill. She's is in and out of hospital and there is a great fear she might die. His mother and father are distraught and they're living in a tense atmosphere of fear and worry. They're a close family but it's hard to keep it all together under such circumstances and sometimes Michael feels lonely and left out. Then he feels guilty for being so heartless. Making matters worse is that they've just moved house, right across town. Michael elected to stay at the same school but he needs to take a long bus ride to get there and he can't just walk out of his house to join a football game with his friends any more. The house is in need of complete renovation too and it seems to Michael as though all his familiar comforts have deserted him.

And then, one day, Michael goes into the derelict garage at the bottom of the garden. It's an adventure - he's not allowed down there at all for the structure is dangerously unstable and could collapse at any time. While he's exploring Michael discovers another derelict - it's a man living in the garage, feeding himself on the flies and spiders he finds within. It's Skellig. Skellig begs him to tell no one that he's there and instinctively Michael senses that there's something strange, something special about this scruffy, ragged man and he keeps the secret from his parents. He tries to help Skellig, although he's half afraid and half excited, bringing him medicine and food and drink.

I closed my eyes and tried to discover where the happy half of me was hiding. I felt the tears trickling through my tightly closed eyelids. I felt Whisper's claws tugging at my jeans. I wanted to be all alone in an attic like Skellig with just the owls and the moonlight and an oblivious heart. And then Dad's car came, with its blaring engine and its glaring lights, and the fear just increased and increased and increased.

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