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Saturday, January 19, 2013

I Dare You By Aleesah Darlison. Sydney, Walker Books, 2012. Series:Lightning Strikes

Motor bike-loving Ben has just started a new school. His mother has managed to get a new job to help support him and his little brother Joey, who refuses to take off his kangaroo suit. But one problem with starting a new school is the probability that the local bully will make you the object of his attentions. Another, in Ben's case, is that the bully's mother is his own mother's boss...

Despite the humorous cover and writing style, the theme is serious. Bullying is not funny. And all too many children and teens don't report it because they fear it will only become worse. So Ben is forced to go through a number of embarrassing "dares" before finding some friends and the courage to tackle it. The way he handles his situation is just a little fantastical, something highly unlikely to happen in the real world, but it goes well with this kind of story. It's aimed at children from about eight onwards, but should also appeal to reluctant readers in early secondary school, somewhat like the the Aussie Bites series. In fact, it will be going into my own school library.

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