Superglued, by Neville Barnard

He still saw both his parents. It was just that he only ever saw them separately. He wished he could see them both at the same time. Maybe then things could be like they were before? He was sure it was still possible – all he had to do was think of a way to make it happen.

Robert’s parents have separated and rather than have him live with one or the other, he’s been despatched to boarding school. His schoolwork is slipping and his only friend asks unanswerable questions. Robert spends alternate weekends with each parent, who never see each other. As if things aren’t bad enough, Mum has a new boyfriend, Adam. Robert is sure that when he has repaired the broken wedding cake ornament, everything will be alright again, like it was before his parents separated. But his efforts seem to make everything worse. It’s time to get serious.

Superglued echoes the emotions of many children in this challenging situation. Neville Barnard tackles a difficult subject with a healthy dose of humour. While Robert struggles to adjust to the changes in his life, his friend Jon asks questions like ‘What do you call a black greyhound?’ and ‘Why is the third hand on a watch called a second hand?’ As Robert repairs the ornament and finds ways to get his parents to spend time together, the reader is kept guessing. Barnard’s light touch allows the reader to enjoy the escalating action while empathising with Robert, his parents and even Adam, the new boyfriend. Recommended for mid-upper primary readers.

Superglued, by Neville Barnard
Lothian Books 2006
ISBN: 9780734409300

You can buy this book onlie at Fishpond.

Ghost Flames, by Neville Barnard

Twelve year old Daniel loves puzzles, but when he meets the ghost of Colleen O’Flarity he is confronted by more puzzles than he can solve. Why can he see and hear her when no one else can? What is that she is scared of? And what is so important that a second ghost goes on searching for it night after night?

Meanwhile, Daniel has problems of his own to confront. The other kids at school call him nobody because he keeps to himself all the time, and his new teacher thinks he’s a trouble maker. Now he’s somehow signed up to present a magic act at the school concert, despite not knowing magic and hating the thought of drawing attention to himself.

Could it be that helping Colleen solve her problems will help Daniel solve his own?

Ghost Flames is an excellent read for 10 to 12 year old readers, with a balance of mystery, self-discovery and action. Sure to appeal to young mystery and ghost-story enthusiasts, it will also appeal to those who like riddles and puzzles – including teachers.

Ghost Flames, by Neville Barnard
Koala Books, 2004