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Saturday, June 19, 2010

SILAS AND THE WINTERBOTTOMS By Stephen M. Giles. Sydney: Macmillan, 2009

On a tropical island called Sommerset, rich – and nasty - old Uncle Silas Winterbottom is dying. He has been out of touch with the family for years. Now three younger Winterbottoms, Milo, Isabella and Adele, have been summoned to the island, told that he will be leaving his fortune to one of them and has not yet decided which one.

Each of the children has his or her own agenda – but so does Uncle Silas. And his agenda has nothing to do with giving away his fortune to any of them…

This is an over-the-top Gothic tale with tongue planted firmly in cheek. None of the characters is particularly believable, but they’re not meant to be. It’s just a little hard to believe that all this stuff could happen in the present day, even with all the explanations about why no one could so much as get on the phone let alone use the Internet, but then this is not the first book of which this can be said and at least this writer does explain it, unlike some others. And it is deliberately over-the-top.

Kids are likely to enjoy the exaggerated characters and storyline, including Uncle Silas's pet crocodile.

If they do enjoy it, there’s a sequel. Stand by.

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