Book review

The Big Bazoohley by Peter Carey (1995)

What can you do when you are only nine and need to help the family finances along? Well, you probably couldn't dream up a great plan all by yourself, but like Sam Kellow, you might be able to take advantage of a chance that comes your way.

Sam's a little nervous. His parents have checked into a really expensive hotel, and Sam knows that they can't afford to pay the bill - unless his mother manages to sell the painting that she has just finished. She thinks she has a buyer, but when she goes off to the buyer's address she is puzzled to find that it doesn't exist. The mysterious Mr de Vere, who she has dealt with before, must have moved without telling her.

Sam's father is a gambler. Sometimes he does well and they live comfortably. Sometimes he loses and they live on peanut butter sandwiches and milk. They're in a bit of a peanut butter period at the moment.

It all makes Sam rather anxious. And perhaps that is why he walks in his sleep one night. But it doesn't help matters to wake up in the draughty corridor outside your hotel room in the middle of the night, and find you can't wake your parents by knocking!

Undaunted! Sam is the son of a gambler! He knows how to rise to a challenge. He surveys the doors up and down the corridor, and knows that his fortune could be locked away behind one of them. Which door to knock on?

Now you have to go and read the book to see how Sam hits the jackpot. I can tell you it's a pretty strange jackpot though. It involves having his hair shampoo and curled, and learning how to eat spaghetti without flicking sauce all over the place.

It's a happy little story. I think you will really enjoy it. The only thing that really left me wondering is exactly who is the very strange Mr de Vere. Is he really a mole, or just very like a mole? And why?

Mr de Vere put out his strange little hand and patted Sam on the shoulder. Sam looked at the glistening gold rings and smelled the damp earth smell again.

What can I read next?

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