My enormous thanks to Lis Anna-Langston for sending me a copy of her children’s novel Gobbledy in return for an honest review.
Ever since eleven-year-old Dexter Duckworth and his brother, Dougal, lost their mom, everything has been different. But “different” takes on a whole new meaning when, one day just before Christmas (or Kissmas, as they call it), Dexter finds a golden rock in the forest that hatches into an adorable alien. Gobbledy is smarter than he seems and is lost on planet Earth. Before long, Gobbledy takes Dexter, Dougal, and their best friend Fi on an adventure of friendship, family, and loss—one that requires them all to stay out of trouble, protect Gobbledy from a shadowy group called the Planetary Society, and prepare for their school’s Winter Extravaganza Play, where Dexter has to be a dreaded Gingerbread Man.
Gobbledy is a fun-filled holiday story that adds up to two brothers, three friends, unlimited jars of peanut butter, a ketchup factory, and one little alien far, far from home.
My Review of Gobbledy
Dexter’s school project isn’t going to plan!
Gobbledy is utterly brilliant and I loved every word. I may be half a century older than Lis Anna-Langston’s target audience but I was completely captivated by her story-telling. This is a truly wonderful book that would appeal to any reader regardless of age because it is written with humanity and has such skilful story-telling. There are some lovely illustrations too.
The plot of Gobbledy is riveting. There’s intrigue and peril, adventure and humour, all mixed with sensitively portrayed emotions of love, friendship and grief in a story that romps along. I was totally captivated. Add in aliens, thieves, school teachers, ketchup, glowing rocks and Christmas and this is a story that deserves to become a children’s classic. I couldn’t put it down because I was desperate to know what might happen next in this dramatic and exciting story.
The characters are glorious. Poor Mr D trying to manage two boys, a precarious job and his grief over his wife, illustrates perfectly how adults can behave in ways that seems harsh but that simply reflect how much they actually care. Dougal’s sensible and logical attitude balances Dexter’s chaotic personality to perfection. So many children will be able to relate to Dexter’s ability to get into trouble unwittingly. I loved the fact that it is Fi, the main female character, who is the most technologically minded because she gives status to girls who enjoy less traditional roles. Her friendship with Dexter shows how genders can mix and care for one another without hidden agendas or being considered unusual, giving valuable messages to children as they enjoy the story.
The star of the narrative is undoubtedly Gobbledy himself. He may be alien, but he embodies such deep humanity that I wanted to reach into the pages of Gobbledy and hug him tightly.
The themes are cleverly woven into the story so that difficult concepts such as grief and truth, economics and employment, education and friendship bubble alongside the action, making for an affecting and educating read whilst entertaining flawlessly. I confess to shedding a tear as I read.
Lis Anna-Langston’s Gobbledy makes it onto my books of the year for 2020. It is absolutely fabulous and brought me complete joy. Don’t miss it.