Review Blog

Sep 27 2011

Too small to fail by Morris Gleitzman

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Puffin Books, 2011. ISBN 9780 14 330642 9
(Ages 10+) Recommended. Yet again Gleitzman has distilled the financial crises besetting the world at the moment down into bread and butter terms. Oliver's parents own a bank and from the outset we know that things are not doing well. There are disgruntled investors knocking at their doors, media conferences to get through, staff being laid off and then packing a bag and running off in the middle of the night. Oliver has tried to do his own financial dealing at school, promising that for every $50 invested, he will return $100. Not usually good at maths, it seems a real earner, until he realises that with so many wanting to be involved he will soon owe millions. A little lesson at schoolyard level gives the reader a small insight into the financial doings of the world.
But meanwhile, Nancy has told Oliver of her predicament with her camels. Expecting a large payout of her investment with his parents to save her camel farm, has now seen the camels near death as the investment fell sour. Oliver runs away from his parents as they prepare to leave for Europe to avoid scrutiny, and drives with Nancy and her daughter, Rose across Australia to the camel farm, his dog, Barclay, in his arms. An accident sees the trio make do with part of the camel float and they limp back to the farm to be greeted by the police and Oliver's parents. Oliver has some decisions to make.
An informative story about the machinations of big business and their impact at the grass roots level, Gleitzman has managed to make some sense of the words heard everyday in the media, making this an exciting, involving story about business by showing the impact the bank has on its smallest investors.
Fran Knight

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