Well, let's see if this works. TALL STORY by Candy Gourlay (David Fickling Books 2011) is, on the surface, the story of Andi and her newly arrived in London brother, Bernardo. Bernardo was born in the Philippines, and his mother had to leave him in the care of his aunt and uncle when she came to London after a bout with dengue fever. For many years, Andi's mother has been trying to get Nardo's papers in order to bring him to London and to make him a part of her family again. When Nardo arrives on the plane from Manila, the family is in for a shock. He is tall. Not just tall, he is a giant standing at 8 feet tall. Andi does not hold out much hope that the arrival of her giant of a brother will make things any easier for her in her new school. There are many surprises and twists and turns to negotiate as the family forges a new set of bonds, and Andi learns more about the brother she has only spoken to once a year. <356>
That is just the tip of the iceberg in this novel that seamlessly blends Andi's and Bernardo's stories in alternating chapters. What is truly stunning is how Bernardo's chapter segues into Andi's and vice versa. The intersection of the two perspectives gives this book incredible depth. Magic, basketball, poverty, superstition, family, school: there are multiple layers to this tall story. They come together to create a lovely work.