Thursday, February 16, 2012

The big Bazoohley by Peter Carey

Imagine you are in a competition to find the perfect kid. You need perfectly neat clothes, a suit perhaps. You need perfectly clean hair. You need perfect skills in walking, dancing and even eating. There are kids in this competition whose parents are determined to win but even though you are new to all of this you desperately need to win too.

You walk into the ballroom of a fancy hotel in your too tight shoes and suit. You dance with a beautiful girl who forgives your clumsiness. Finally you sit down to eat. All is well. The salad is easy but the next course is spaghetti!

The waiters swooped in with big plates of spaghetti and meat sauce… Sam put his fork into the spaghetti just the way he had practiced with the slimy string. He used a spoon and a fork … and it worked … he was, for a full ten seconds a champion, a winner.”

Sam’s dad is a gambler. They only have fifty-three dollars and twenty cents. The King Redward hotel in Toronto is not this kind of hotel. Sam’s mother is an artist who paints the most intriguing miniature scenes. She is scheduled to sell a painting (these take a whole year to create) to a wealthy recluse but renovations to the railway station mean Vanessa cannot find Mr Edward St John de Vere and time is running out. This family desperately need ‘the big bazoohley’ or the big payout. If Sam can win the Perfecto Kiddo competition then all their troubles will be over.

The Big Bazoohley is a marvelous romp. It is such a short novel with less than one hundred pages but all the twists and turns of the plot along with the splendid cast of characters will leave you gasping for air and cheering for our hero Sam.

This is another one of those books I have recommended for years and years. I sat down to read it and completed the whole book in just half an hour but in that time I had been to Toronto with Sam in the depths of Winter, I had stood in the lobby of a ritzy hotel and I had watched Sam maneuver that spaghetti with disastrous and surprising results.

This book is by Peter Carey and was based on a real incident when his son was locked out of the hotel room and stranded in the corridor. There are at least four different cover designs for this book. We have the one I have put here by Stephen Michael King in our school library. I give this book ten out of ten!

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