Pub 8-2012, Candlewick Press, $15.99
The book you are reading about is called Toppling. Toppling was written by Sally Murphy and illustrated by Rhian Nest James. You might know Sally Murphy from her book Pearl Versus the World. She lives with her family in Australia and runs a website that reviews Australian Books. Rhian James also lives in Australia and has illustrated more than sixty books.
In Toppling, the main character is John, a fifth grade boy who loves dominoes. “Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink. They fell over in a perfect pattern. Yes! John punched the air. The spiral had worked!” Every day John has a normal day: get up, school, go home, dominoes. Get up, school, go home, dominoes, and on and on and on… But one day it all changes, when his friend Dom gets cancer. How will John help him? Will Dom survive? Will Ky the bully show support?
Toppling is a great book for eight to eleven-year-olds. It’s an easy read and a great story. The story is great because there are lots of different characters, like:
- Miss Timms
- and Ky
If your best friend or parent has ever had a bad illness then you can relate to this, and this is a really good book for you. Even if no one you know has ever had a terrible illness, this is still a good book. It has annoying sisters, like John’s sister, Tess. Tess says things like, “What are you doing, NerdBoy?” There are best friends, like Mike, John, and the gang. In one part of the book, they say, “Maybe we could help Dom to laugh, too. Let’s go see him together and tell him our jokes.” There’s a mean bully, Ky, who says, “You’re just a group of dorks,” to the gang. Finally, there are kind teachers, like Miss Timms. She helps the characters by saying, “Hello boys, I guess your parents told you about Dom. There is nothing that I can do that will make you feel better, but just know that I am here for you.
What’s even better is that the book is in verse, so that means it would be kind of like a poem.
If I could change the book in any way, I would say there should have been more repeating words like “clink, clink, clink, clink, clink” that make the book more interesting.
John loves dominoes. He makes ramps and circles—setting them up under chairs and down stairs—and finally spirals, the hardest of them all. Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink all down. “‘Yes!’ John punched the air. The spiral, the hardest one was completed. But still that only distracted John for a bit. ‘Dom,’ he thought, ‘Dom should’ve seen this.’”
I hope you join John, Dom, and the dominoes in this fantastic book by Sally Murphy. It made me sad while I read it, but the end of the story was happy and made me happy too.
-Jane O., 9