July 2016, Piccadilly Press, 240 pages,
Summary from Piccadilly Press
Jim is getting to grips with his father’s
rather unusual job at the Dead End Office and is keeping the truth secret as a promise to Dad. But when Jim sees that Will’s grandma is next on the list of Death Dates, he springs into action. Even though Granny Maggot is smelly, mean-spirited and VERY unfriendly, his best friend Will adores her. Jim has to do something!
If the boys can keep Will’s granny safe until midnight, can they save her life?
This book is a little too grim for me to read, but I've reviewed books similar to it in the past so I thought you'd like to know about it. I'm not reviewing it, but Rachel has very sweetly written a post to tempt you into reading this series!
Why are you interested in death? Why write a story that fends death away? by Rachel Delahaye
I don't have a thing about death. In fact, I'm scared rigid of horror movies and I dread Halloween because those freaky masks the kids wear give me nightmares. I did once try to be a Goth in the '90s, but I wasn't very successful - apparently, you're not allowed to wear a coquettish splash of yellow when you're a Goth. Or smile. That was about as close as I got to having a dark side. And I guess it seems pretty odd that I chose Death as the topic for my first middle grade comedy series.
The idea came to me when I was browsing bookshops and noticing the trends; there was a lot of goofy literature addressing almost all aspects of life - school, family, pets, holidays. But there wasn't a lot of death going on, which I thought was odd. After all, the notion of death is something we have to live with...
As I started to mull that sentence over, it became literal. Imagine living with Death.
I did imagine it, but not with death as some gloomy intangible thing, but as a jolly person just doing his job... (that's my literary splash of yellow). Life is there to be laughed at and I reckoned we should have a go at death, too.
Of course, as well as laughing at the spooky ins and outs of death-bringing, death administration and formal death uniform, the books do confront our natural instinct to escape it. For a kids adventure story, what could be more fun and full of capers than running away from death? But aside from the comedy, it also opens up the opportunity for frank discussion. Why does death happen? Should we fear it? And if we know it's coming what can we do about it?
I hope the kids reading Jim Reaper will work out their own answers to that question. But for me, and for the characters of Jim Reaper the message is clear - if we know it's coming, then we have to live while we're living, and make the most of every day. For Granny Maggot, that could be by swinging from the handles in a double-decker bus; for Jim, by cherishing his family; for Will it might be by spending more time with Maximus, his pet giant African land snail...
Jim Reaper is about death - there's no escaping that - but it's actually life that has the starring role.
Find out more on Rachel's website.