Head Spinners, by Thalia Kalkipsakis

‘Happy Birthday, Squirt!’ said Uncle Owen.
‘Oh …thanks,’ I said, trying to force a smile.
The package was wrapped in creased, white tissue paper and was about twenty times smaller than the surfboard I’d wanted. If I hadn’t known Uncle Owen better, I would almost have thought it was a book.
‘Go on, Sam, open it!’ Uncle Owen sat at the kitchen table, rubbing his hands together.
‘Do you want a quick coffee?’ Mum asked him.
‘Nah thanks, Sis.’
Curiosity overtook my disappointment this time; I ripped the paper away, and frowned.
‘Oh …thanks,’ I said again, not in disappointment this time but in confusion.

Head Spinnersis a collection of fantastical short stories set in real worlds. Sam receives a clock like no other in ‘Tick-Tock Time Machine’. Brooke’s shoulder is a-tingling in ‘It Began with a Tingle’. ‘Alive Again’ begins with Jamie in trouble, and ends with an apple. Follow that path! ‘Vortex’ spins Alice’s world. She could never have imagined where the school excursion would take her. Danny discovers more than he expects in ‘Night Sight’ and also how challenging it is to share some experiences. Tony “meets” his great-grandmother for the first but perhaps not the last time in ‘Evil Eye’.

Sometimes you’re in the mood for a five course meal. Other times, you just want a yummy snack. Head Spinners is a packet of different-flavoured snacks, perfect for those times. Each story is complete and completely whacky, twisting and turning and then twisting again. It’s almost impossible to predict where each story will take you. They are funny, sad, slightly spooky, sometimes all at the same time. Each has its own truth though, enriching the main character and providing insights into the world around them. Honesty, guilt, responsibility all get a look in. But don’t read them for their themes. Read them because they’re just good fun! Recommended for mid- to upper-primary readers.

Head Spinners: Six Stories to Twist Your Brain

Head Spinners: Six Stories to Twist Your Brain, Thalia Kalkipsakis
Allen & Unwin 2011
ISBN: 9781742373454

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

This book can be purchased from good bookstores, or online from Fishpond.