Reviewed by Deborah Banasko
My children love reading, as do I, so I am always keen to read books from new authors who I haven’t previously encountered.
Michelle Paths’ website was really user friendly and she writes stories for a variety of tastes, for both boys and girls. Themes range from cowboys to ponies, and pirates to eccentric young girls.
The description of each story is a little brief perhaps, although I can see that she perhaps doesn’t want to give too much away. I would also have liked some guidance of age suitability or length of the books to help me make my choice.
I chose “Rory Aqua Adventure Man” as I felt it would be a unisex book suitable for both of my children. This was the case, however it was a little old for them, so I read the book myself and then lent it to my 10-year-old niece so that I could have a child’s view of the story.
The tale begins with Rory Aqua Adventure Man in the toy store, waiting for a child to choose him and take him home. Eventually a girl called Emily rescues him from the bargain bin (a toy’s worst nightmare) and loves him as her favourite toy. However, a day trip at the beach ends badly when Rory is accidentally left behind and washed out to sea. Rory strives to find his way back home to Emily, encountering various animals and people along the way.
This is certainly a fast-moving story with never a dull moment. We learn about penguins, a tribe of humans on a desert island, apes and pirates (to name a few). However, we are not overloaded with too much description; there is a good balance between information and pace.
There is some silly comedy when he meets a loan shark (an actual shark), but serious issues are also touched upon such as litter pollution in our oceans.
It’s so important that children learn about out amazing world and the creatures in it, but also the devastation that humans can cause to their habitats, and Path handles this very well I feel.
The ending is unexpected and with a tinge of sadness from my point of view, but my niece loved it. I’m a bit of a soppy Mum I think!
Rory is especially educated for a toy, but this is a children’s story after-all and I love that he comes alive when humans aren’t around. Michelle Path has an amazing imagination and is really in tune with what interests children.
As an adult it made me want to go and buy all of the toys in the bargain bin! Read the story and you will understand…
My niece liked the idea of toys learning to love (and be happy with) more than one child; in the story Rory becomes the toy of the pirates daughter, Lillian, and learns to love his life with her and almost forget about Emily. My niece has given many of her toys away as she’s gotten older, and it actually gave her some comfort that she had “done the right thing” she told me. A really sweet concept.
The only minor issue I had with the story was the regular reference to Rory being a boys toy, and Rory’s surprise that a girl was on a pirate ship (as girl’s cannot be pirates). It wasn’t clear to me whether the author was trying to break stereotypes or re-affirm them. I am certain that it was the former, but maybe this needed to be clearer. This was a very small point that I noticed, and did not distract from the story or enjoyment in any way.
I loved the whole concept of this story and how it was written, with the occasional picture to assist the imagination. I have put it aside to read with my daughter in a few years and I’m certainly going to look at more stories by this author.
I have to give the book 5 stars out of 5. I cannot fault the beautiful way that it was written, and how you felt part of Rory’s adventure and really wanted him to find his happy ending. A fantastic read!
RRP: £7.99 (paperback)