Water Wings by Morris Gleitzman

Guys, I don’t care WHICH book you read, but if you haven’t read Morris Gleitzman, please go do so now. This is only the second book I’ve read by him, but I’m now convinced that everything he writes is just about as awesome as it gets. This man has skillz…yes, with a z. Water Wings and Two Weeks With the Queen will simultaneously make you laugh hysterically, say “awwwww”, and cry horrendously…all in the ugliest way. Really…your face just cannot look pretty while reading his books.

Water Wings tackles a LOT of big and controversial issues all in under 150 pages. It starts out with the death of a beloved pet guinea pig after just a few pages. But don’t worry…you will love this guinea pig and be upset, but he stays around. The little guy’s name is Winston and he’s Pearl’s pet. Pearl’s mother is too busy with work to be there for her (ever) and her boyfriend Howard is just as estranged. But Howard has a grandmother that Pearl has never met but has decided to adopt as her Gran.

Gran is awesome and has her own issues that she’s dealing with. But she’s spunky as hell. We learn that Gran is no stranger to loss herself and her and Pearl learn to help each other. But the story takes some turns into things that I didn’t think a book written for this age group would approach…but it does and it does so expertly.

Gleitzman isn’t afraid to show kids the world. To show them that there’s hurt in the world, pain and loss in the world. But he manages not to present these things as OMG THAT’S SO HORRIBLE WTF. In Two Weeks with the Queen, he addressed cancer and homosexuality. Two things that sadly, a lot of kids around 7-10 aren’t all that aware of or educated on. But I just love the way Gleitzman handled those issues in TWWTQ. Homosexuality was not a BIG SCARY FREAKISHLY WEIRD THING. Instead, he just gave us characters who happened to be gay.

He tackles big issues again with Water Wings. Death, cancer, and most surprising, euthanasia. When I first got to this part I was wondering how he was going to pull this off, but he did so perfectly. And in the simplest words, echoed so many of my feelings. I’m not going to talk much about that though because it’s a big part of the story. But I do love that he doesn’t shy away from the big topics because the children shouldn’t hear about them. Instead, he treats children with respect and makes his argument through his work. Bringing up a lot of good discussion points for families to talk about.

I just went and ordered four more of his books from Paperback Swap. Basically I’m just soaking up everything the man has written now. And there is a LOT of that out there. What a gem.


4 Responses

  1. first off, I am glad you are back (I know you aren’t lol)..

    how great that you found an author that thrills you so much!! We do find them but not everyday ..so this is a good thing. I hope you keep enjoying his books and that he’s prolific in putting them out for you!

  2. I am very curious about this author, but unfortunately the library doesn’t have anything by him!

  3. I’ve never heard of Gleitzman before. I’m going to see if my library carries his books.

  4. I’ve heard really good things about his, Once, Then & Now series, so I definitely want to read some of his stuff.

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