What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible – Ross Welford

I’m not going to make any apologies for reading and reviewing children’s books here. I am expected to recommend books to adults and children of all ages at work (despite having fairly minimal first-hand experience with small people). To be fair, when I worked at a University shop I would be asked to recommend physics, engineering and psychology textbooks without really understanding the first thing about them but there’s no way I was ever going to read and review Tipler, Boylestad or Pinel. Then I’d really have to apologise (first to Tipler, Boylestad and Pinel…). Also, on the whole I really, really enjoy children’s books. I enjoyed my childhood reading Roald Dahl,the Famous Five, What Katy Did and Coral Island and now I’m enjoying everyone younger than me’s childhood reading J.K. Rowling, David Walliams and Julia Donaldson. Keeps me young, I’m sure!

invisibleRoss Welford’s first book, Time Travelling With a Hamster, was a very well-received Waterstones children’s book of the month in 2016. His second, What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible, looks like it should be just as successful. Still set (rather lovingly) in the North-East of England – an area I lived in for 13 happy years – this book is about Ethel, 13, who is suffering with the kind of acne which makes you wish you were invisible. There is humour ( I loved the talent show) and sadness (mostly as Ethel thinks of her memories of her late mother). There are also good friends (Elliot Boyd), loving family (old-fashioned but loving Gram as well as Great Gran, who is 100 and not always in the real world) and some really nasty bullies (Jarrow and Jesmond Knight – cast members of Geordie Shore in the making…). And of course, after a bit of an accident with a rather old sunbed and some slightly dodgy chinese herbal medicine, Ethel almost gets her wish as her spots (as well as the rest of her) totally disappear when she turns invisible. Add in some mysterious dog-napping, Ethel’s discovery of who she really is and a campaign to save a lighthouse and this will be a great book for boys and girls from about 10 upwards. And for those of us adults who still enjoy reading any book with a good story whatever age it was meant for…

Jane

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