Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Big City Butter-Finger by Bob Cattell and John Agard

January 2010, Frances Lincoln
112 pages, Paperback
Review copy

Children's, 7+,

Smiles: 3
Tissues: 1
Nayuleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥

Summary from Frances Lincoln

A rising young star known across the Caribbean, Riccardo - Butter-Finger to his fans - visits London for the first time to sing in the London Caribbean Festival at the Royal Festival Hall in front of thousands. He's also hoping to see the West Indies play at Lords Cricket Ground, but most of all he hopes to find out about his father who left home for London years ago and with whom he has lost touch. Meanwhile back at home, his friends in the Calypso Cricket Club are facing their biggest challenge ever when they play in Trinidad for the Valentine Shield.
Riccardo's time in the big city is even more exciting than he could imagine as he encounters stars of music and cricket and discovers the secret of his father's disappearance in this hugely entertaining and richly plotted story.

Sport in a book no longer puts me off (a good thing). So I was looking forward to watching the match unfold (I know less about cricket than I do about football, and that's saying something). That part of the story unfolded well, and I enjoyed it.

I really liked the set up how Riccardo was completely out of his depths for singing at the concert. His emotions are realistic, especially the stage fright when that mysterious someone appears in the concert. The songs which he sings are well written, and I'm quite sure children will make up tunes for them (or there may even be a CD with the music out there).

The biggest part of the story, which I was looking forward to, was a little bit of a let down. For me, there wasn't enough exploration into Riccardo's feelings about his father. He finds out why his father stayed away, and reacts to it. I realise for the book's length and recommended age group there won't be pages about Riccardo's feelings. But I've read similar sized books, with similar revelations, and it didn't feel so smooth in this one. The way the ending tied up the story, it felt as though a bit more was missing. I felt he could have thought abit more about his dad after he got home.

Having said all that, I really got a feel for Riccardo's background, and how much cricket and music is a part of this life. And the reason why he is called Butter-Finger. I still recommend this book for reading, just be careful if, like me, you expected more character exploration.

Riccardo's story begins in Butter-Finger and Shine, On, Butter-Finger

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