★Ar restr BBC Big Read Top 100★
(suggested) reading age: 11+
(suggested) interest age: 10+
Welsh adaptation of Holes by Louis Sachar. This witty, inventive and utterly compelling novel from Louis Sachar is a must-read for children and adults too. A deft mixture of seriousness and humour, it is told in a direct, simple style that belies the clever construction of Sachar's powerful narrative.
REVIEW BY CATRIN DAFYDD
Stanley Yelnats has been falsely accused of stealing a pair of shoes. Because of this, he is sent to Glaslyn camp. Stanley isn’t to blame, and it’s said that he and his family have been unlucky for many years. Despite the injustice, a visit to this strange camp reinforces Stanley's character and changes his life forever.
Ioan Kidd's adaptation of Louis Sachar's novel captures the reader's attention from the very beginning. The mystery belonging to ‘Gwersyll Glaslyn’ compels you to speed through the chapters. The reader has the opportunity to understand the main character's thinking and is fully immersed in his world. The juxtaposition of everyday reality and surreal stories offers a nice balance to the novel.
What is most striking about the novel is its simplicity. The storytelling is tight, similar to old allegories, yet entirely modern.
Without a doubt, this is a novel that shows the development of a character, and shows in a subtle way how friendship is formed and how it’s possible to make the most of a bad situation. A novel that shines a light on injustices as well as showing how tenacity and perseverance can achieve results. Above all though, despite being a concise and direct novel, with almost no emotion; this is a book that will leave its mark on every single reader because it touches upon the truth.
A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.
Stanley Yelnats' family has a history of bad luck, so he is not entirely surprised when a miscarriage of justice sends him to the Camp Green Lake Juvenile Detention Centre in the middle of the Texan desert. There is in fact no lake there at all and not much green either. Stanley soon discovers that his work at the camp will be to dig a deep hole each day, and to report back about anything he finds there. Stanley gets to work - but he soon discovers there's more to the task he's been given than merely an exercise in character-building
WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW (from Common Sense Media)
Parents need to know that Louis Sachar's Holes is a moving, action-packed, and sometimes violent mystery that won the Newbery Medal. It's about a boy named Stanley, who's falsely accused of a crime and sent to a juvenile detention center in the middle of a desert in Texas. The story will excite young readers' sense of justice, as Stanley is treated most unfairly. In the flashback passages, Katherine, a White woman, loves Sam, a Black man, and they're victims of racist violence. There's threatened as well as real violence in the present-day parts of the book, including fistfights, drawn guns, attacks with shovels, and danger of poisoning. This is a more intense book than many novels for this age group, as some adults in the book treat youngsters as slaves. However, there are some funny moments, and the mysterious ways that past and present connect in the book are engaging at just the right grade level. The book was adapted for a 2003 movie, and there's a good audiobook version read by Kerry Beyer.