Chocolate Moon

I am a big fan of Barrington Stoke Publishers. They are unique among publishers for children, specialising in books for reluctant and underconfident readers. They have a panel of young readers who comment on the manuscripts prior to being carefully edited to suit the required reading age level (in this case 8+). This is a big-themed book which ends up like a taster menu for a much larger feast! The theme, dear to my heart, is of ageing and a boy’s familial relationships as he passes from childhood to young adulthood. Chris and his grandmother are pitted against his father and mother as Gran begins to show signs of Alzheimer’s disease. The book does not have the scope to really investigate the relationship between Chris and his Gran, between Chris and his dad, between his dad and his Gran and between Chris and his pal, Billy. All these are quite wonderfully and tantalisingly introduced but not really developed past the surface … the limitation of a short book. Two inconsistencies which I wondered about in the book was the ‘disappearance’ of the mother from the narrative, and also the dad and son in the front seats of the car on the return journey home with the poor old Gran in the back seat! Surely Chris, or his ‘disappeared mother’ could have sat with her to reassure her that all would be well? But having said all that, I think that the book will be a welcome addition for the older, less experienced reader who might want something ‘more real’ to read.