I stood in my room and stared at my reflection in the mirror, fidgeting with my clothes for the tenth time in the last two minutes. I just didn’t look right. I looked like a stupid, ugly human! I glared at my features. My hair was a dark gritty brown colour. No matter how many disgusting liquids I washed it with, it never looked quite like oily black goblin hair. Oh sure, it was so putrid that it stood up at gravity-defying angles all by itself, but that didn’t matter if the colour wasn’t right.
As for my body, it was a mass of disappointment. Goblins had pot bellies, wonderfully long arms for stealing things and short legs for quick getaways. Nothing like my long legs and stupidly proportioned arms.
And don’t even get me started on my face.
Samuel. What sort of name is that for a goblin? A name guaranteed to get him into trouble with the school and other bullies. All Sam wants is to be like everyone else. Except when everyone is a goblin, with awesome magical skills, that’s no easy thing. Even his loving adoptive parents are goblins. Sam hopes that things will change once he is accepted into the Goblin Academy. Then he can make his parents truly proud of him. But success at the Academy is not in his destiny. However, he is recruited by a band of pirates-who-deny-being-pirates. And he discovers that there are much bigger things to worry about than just being the only normal human being left in the world.
Thank goodness The Not-so-goblin Boy doesn’t have and scratch-and-sniff pages, because with all the farts that goblins delight in releasing, readers would be passing out and never reading beyond the second page! And that would be a shame, because The Not-so-goblin Boy is a swashbuckling read, full of goblins, gnomes, explosions (including mega-farts) and wild adventure. There are gadgets and mysteries, secrets and illusions. And beneath it all is a tale about learning to accept yourself for who you are, not who you think you want to be. While this adventure is complete in itself, there are enough threads to suspect that a sequel is planned. Great fun for mid- to upper-primary readers, boys particularly.
The Not-so-goblin Boy, Ezekiel Kwaymullina
Walker Books 2011
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
This book is available in good bookstores or online from Fishpond.