Tag Archives: Ross Welford

What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible by Ross Welford

If you had really bad acne you would want to do anything you could to get rid of it.  You would try every possible remedy you could, possibly even resorting to less scientifically-proven methods.  Imagine, though, that you had tried everything that you possibly could and were feeling pretty downhearted, until one day you wake up and you’re actually invisible!  Not only can nobody see your spots, they also can’t see your whole face or the rest of your body.  This would be enough to freak anyone out and you would have to figure out how and why it has happened.  This is the weird situation that Ethel finds herself in in Ross Welford’s fantastic new book, What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible.

y648Turning invisible at will: it’s one way of curing your acne. But far more drastic than 13 year-old Ethel Leatherhead intended when she tried a combination of untested medicines and a sunbed.It’s fun at first, being invisible. And aided by her friend Boydy, she manages to keep her extraordinary ability secret. Or does she…?When one day the invisibility fails to wear off, Ethel is thrown into a nightmare of lies and deception as she struggles to keep herself safe, to find the remedy that will make her seen again – and solve the mystery of her own birth.

What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible is a weird and wonderful story full of mystery and marvels.  There is something for everyone in this book, from an invisible girl and her family secrets to unexpected friendships and secret missions.  I loved Ross’ first book, Time Travelling with a Hamster, so I was really looking forward to this book and Ross doesn’t disappoint.  There are plenty of mysteries to keep you guessing and some really tense moments too.  I was holding my breath in anticipation in several parts of the story, wondering whether Ethel’s invisibility would be noticed.  Ross also lightens the mood with some funny (and embarrassing) moments.  Ross captures both the excitement and the terror that I’m sure you would experience if you found yourself invisible.

Ross shows us that people often aren’t who we perceive them to be.  Almost everyone in the story has an aspect of themselves that they keep hidden.  Ethel herself buys strange medicines online without her grandmother knowing,  her Gram and her Great-Gran have secrets of their own, Elliot Boyd (or Boydy to his friends) is different from what she’s been led to believe, and the school bullies Jesmond and Jarrow are quite different when they’re in their own home.  Ethel discovers that the life that she knows is a lie and sets out to uncover the truth, with the help of Boydy.

The thing I loved most about this book is the friendship between Ethel and Boydy.  Ethel is initially skeptical about being friends with Boydy, who is an outcast at school.  He doesn’t seem to care what people think though and Ethel starts to warm to him.  He may seem a bit strange to Ethel but he becomes a loyal friend who will do anything to help her.

Like Time Travelling with a Hamster I think What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible would make a great read aloud for Years 6-8 as it would create some good discussions.  I can’t recommend Ross Welford’s books highly enough.  I can’t wait to see where Ross Welford takes us next!

 

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Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford

‘My dad died twice.  Once when he was thirty-nine, and again four years later when he was twelve. (He’s going to die a third time as well, which seems a bit rough on him. but I can’t help that.)’

With this first paragraph, Ross Welford immediately grabs you and takes you on a wild ride through time in his brilliant (and brilliantly titled) new book, Time Travelling with a Hamster.

Time Travelling

On Al Chaudhury’s twelfth birthday his beloved Grandpa Byron gives him a letter from Al’s late father. In it Al receives a mission: travel back to 1984 in a secret time machine and save his father’s life.

Al soon discovers that time travel requires daring and imagination. It also requires lies, theft, setting his school on fire and ignoring philosophical advice from Grandpa Byron. All without losing his pet hamster, Alan Shearer

Time Travelling with a Hamster is a funny, fresh take on time travel about a boy who would do anything to get his father back.  This book has all the elements of a truly great book – humour, suspense, action, wonderful characters, and lots of heart.  It makes you laugh, cry  and nervously chew your nails.

This is the perfect time travel book for kids (and adults who love the idea of time travel).  Ross brings his own ideas about time travel into the story and makes it easy enough for kids to understand, without dumbing-down the ideas.  The time machine that Al’s dad built is not quite what Al imagined a time machine would look like.  It is very simple – a laptop connected to a tin tub.  Even something this small creates its own problems when traveling back in time.  My favourite aspect of Ross’s idea of time travel is ‘Dad’s Law of Doppelgangers.’ Al’s dad explains in a letter to him that ‘an object (or person) may occupy the same dimension of spacetime ONLY ONCE.’  When Al travels back in time he realises that he ‘cannot go back to the same place and time that I was before: it has already been occupied – is already occupied – by me.’ As you can imagine this causes a few problems for Al.

It is a nerve-wracking story at times.  There are times in the story that I was holding my breath, wondering how Al was going to get out of a certain situation.  As with all time travel stories, little things that are changed in the past can have dramatic effects in the future.  Al’s actions have quite dramatic effects on his life and you can’t help putting yourself in his shoes, wondering if you would have done the same.

While it is nerve-wracking at times, there is also a lot of heart in this story.  Al misses his dad, who died much too soon.  When he gets the chance to go back in time to save him, Al steps into the unknown and does what his dad asks.  Al loves his family and if he can bring them back together again he will.  The relationships between the males in Al’s family are very strong, especially between Al and his Grandpa Byron.  Al looks up to Grandpa Byron, who is wise, caring and has an incredible sense of humour.  Grandpa Byron was the character that really stood out for me.

Ross Welford is an author that I’ll be watching.  I can’t wait to see what he writes next!

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