The Quigleys at Large
Illustrated by Helen Stevens
Ages 7 to 9
Random House, 2003, 0-385-75022-6
The Quigleys are back and we have four more deliciously funny and decidedly unexpected stories to enjoy. Mum has had her wisdom teeth out and Dad has decided that she is not allowed to do anything but has to be treated as if she is an invalid. For a little while this is all right but it soon becomes a trial for everyone, including Mum. Not only do Lucy and Will have to be quiet all the time but Dad won’t let poor Mum have any fun. Even when the family goes to the fete at the school, Mum is told that she mustn’t do anything boisterous. In other words, she can’t play any of the games. In typical Simon Mason fashion, things get turned upside down and Mum ends up having more than a little fun after all. Dad also has an adventure and he doesn’t even have to leave the house to have his. In fact he is barely awake and he yet he still manages to create a state of chaos. Will wanders off into dreamland and finds himself locked in at his school. The question is, can he get himself out before his parents find out?
As for Lucy, well, she probably takes the prize. Lucy surprises us by turning out to be an extremely thoughtful and generously spirited person. While on holiday in France she takes it upon herself to examine the question of friendship. Lucy likes to have friends about her, someone to do cartwheels with and the like. The problem is that in France, the other little girls speak French. So, she rationalizes, she cannot have a friend. However this does not stop her finding friends for her brother and father. With the simplicity that is so refreshing in the very young, she cuts through all that nonsense that older people seem to build around themselves, and quietly but firmly sets up her father and brother with two charming people. Now all she has to do is forget about the language barrier and get a friend herself.
Simon Mason seems to know just how to take a simple story and turn into something that can engage and amuse the reader. In this book he also touches on the ability of children to see the simple and important things in life, like friendship and reaching out to one another. It is truly a joy to share yet another slice of Quigley life.
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