Tim Harris (text), James Foley (illustrator), Fully Booked (Toffle Towers #1), Puffin Books, August 2019, 272 pp., RRP $24.95 (pbk), ISBN 9780143795421
Chegwin Toffle is an unusual boy. The ten-year-old loves to daydream, in fact, he spends most of his time daydreaming. This causes many problems, not the least at school. His teacher and class mates are not patient with him and bully him about it. So when Chegwin learns he has inherited a hotel from a long lost Uncle and has to move towns, and schools, he is very relieved. However, when Chegwin and his parents arrive at the hotel they learn the hotel has only three months before the doors close. Although Chegwin’s uncle was very wealthy, there have been no guests for two years and soon there will be no money left for the staff. So Chegwin had a huge challenge in front of him. How he deals with the situation is creative and ingenious, for Chegwin thinks like a kid, as he states: “Adults only ever think of the restraints, but kids think of the possibilities.” (p. 82)
This is an engaging read for younger readers. There are interesting cartoon-like illustrations throughout, such as Strange things people might inherit. There are six pages of banter between Barry and Larry, staffers at the hotel who do not like each other, that is hilariously illustrated in speech balloons. This would lend well to reading aloud with different people reading for the different characters’ voices. The characterisation is well written and the setting depicted so the reader can easily visualise what is happening. The book ends with a mystery, so I am looking forward to the next book in this series.
This will make a great addition to any public library and is a must for all primary school libraries. A great read aloud book, this will be enjoyed by many.
Reviewed by Liz Derouet