Thursday 2 February 2012

33. Slog's Dad by David Almond and Dave McKean

Slog's Dad by David Almond and Dave McKean
Published January 2012 Walker Books

From the publisher:

Do you believe there’s life after death? Slog does. He reckons that the scruffy bloke sitting outside the pork shop is his dad come back to visit him for one last time – just like he’d said he would, just before he died. Slog’s mate Davie isn’t convinced. But how does this man know everything Slog’s dad would know? Because Slog says it really is his dad, that’s how.

At 61 pages, this is not a big book, it is a short story.  A short story, that weaves text and the illustrations of a graphic novel.  As with many books where the illustrations make up a significant amount of the book, we find the illustrations telling us another side of the story, a side we don't see in the text.

The text in the story is the way Davie interprets the events, and the illustrations show us how Slog has been coping since the death of his father. As he was dying, Slog's Dad promised his son he would come back to see him in the Spring, and when he sees a man on a park bench he is sure that this man is his father. He looks different, but that because he has been 'transfigured'.  This book is just as much about friendship, as it is about loss and grief, because Davie is caught between trying to prove that this man could not possibly be Slog's Dad and supporting his friend in the miracle of his Dad coming back that has made his friend so happy.

I won't tell you that everyone is going to love this book, because I don't think they will.  I will say that is worth looking at, to try something different.  It is only short, but I will bet that after you have read it you will go back and read it again, and possible again...There's a lot in it, and even if you don't love it, it will leave you thinking long after the last page.

This book has been out in hardback, but new in paperback in 2012.

Who will like this book: Boys aged 13+

Read it if you like: David Almond

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