Review Blog

Nov 19 2010

Slog's Dad by David Almond

cover image

Illustrated by Dave McKean. Walker Books, 2010. ISBN 978 1 4063 22903.
Highly recommended. This is one of those rare books that will give you goose bumps as you read, a book that makes you weep quietly to yourself - a book that you read knowing that you are in the hands of a skilled writer. Slog's dad has died. First he had a black spot on his toe, so his foot was amputated, and then his leg and sitting in front of his house he joked with passers by. But then another spot appeared on his remaining leg. But when that leg was removed as well, he became quiet. The years of smoking and working on the rubbish trucks came to an end. He no longer joked with passers by, but kept to his room, with his wife waiting upon him. But he promised Slog that he would come back in the spring. The illustrations reiterate the story of the man losing his legs, showing a boy playing with a paper cut out of a man, taking one leg and then the other from the paper.
So when Slog sees a man in the park, he is ecstatic. Hus friend, Dave is not so sure, and butts in offering alternative explanations for this man, asking him questions that only Slog's dad would know how to answer. But despite this, Slog is convinced that he has seen his dad once again, and so says goodbye.
A bare story with few words, but what words! Each one resonates with meaning and empathy for the boy who has lost his father. In between the words are pages of incredible illustrations, designed, as with the words, to grasp at your throat, pulling the reader into the story of the boy accepting his father's death.
Fran Knight

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