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Foakes, Laura: The Liars and Fibbers Academy.

Foakes, Laura

The Liars and Fibbers Academy

Illustrated by Emma Taylor

Candy Jar Books, 2014, pp208, 6.99 [pounds sterling]

978 09928607 3 8

When Danny Quinn truthfully tells everyone that a stray dog is the reincarnation of his older sister, his mother takes to her bed. Danny is sent to the Liars and Fibbers Academy where he meets Derek, who insists she is a mermaid. They are the only children at the school, which has no teachers.

This is a wonderfully quirky read, which has lots of humour and depth. There is a great cast of supporting characters such as Danny's granny, Lydia, who does head standing yoga and belly dancing, and Miss Balalaika from Petersburg who lives upstairs with her Arthur (arthritis), eats Chum dog food, and looks out for Danny with her cries of 'Oi Vey.' The narrative rattles along, diving into Inigus' past as a mud lark and turd collector for a tannery in Victorian England. There is wit and originality in the writing which swooshes the reader from past to present and then into a further dimension. Underlying the fast paced action is the unfurling story of two children struggling to cope with bereavement and with the guilt they carry from feeling they were responsible for their loved ones' deaths. This is an exceptional first novel which is highly entertaining; it also addresses the burden of self blame which many children carry.

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Author:Smiley, Sophie
Publication:School Librarian
Article Type:Children's review
Date:Dec 22, 2014
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