Title: His Name Was Walter
Author: Emily Rodda
Target audience: MG
Date Read: 05/05/19 – 12/05/19
I was equal parts excited and nervous to read this book. Excited because Emily Rodda’s books were such a staple of my childhood and teen years and I hoped reading her again would live up to my expectations. And nervous because… well, because Emily Rodda’s books were such a staple of my childhood and teen years and I hoped reading her again would live up to my expectations.
I have to admit that I wasn’t entirely into the story-within-a-story format of the book. Even though I ultimately enjoyed it, I thought there might have been better ways to integrate Walter’s story with that of the modern-day school children. Walter’s story was often cut off right in the middle of something so we could see how Colin and Tara were faring; it all felt a bit disjointed. I also found that the story felt a bit superficial – I felt I was told how characters were feeling a lot of the time, rather than it being shown.
But at the end, when it was revealed exactly how Walter was connected to the modern-day characters… I’d already figured out some of it, or at least suspected. But I actually really loved this part, and that’s why the book still gets four stars from me. The final lines of the book made me tear up a little.
And look, I know I’m not the book’s target demographic. I think kid readers would make fewer connections between the real world and the fairytale story earlier on. I think they would find the ghostly bits creepy or even terrifying. I’m a grown-up now and I do have to recognise that Emily Rodda is still writing for kids. But the fact that the story moved me at the end is enough to make me feel her writing stands the test of time.
This review is part of my 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge. Click here for more information.
I am trying to read as many of the books as possible on the 2019 Children’s Book Council of Australia Notables List. Click here to see the titles.