Jun 28

Review: Toppling by Sally Murphy

I received this book for free from ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Toppling by Sally MurphyToppling by Sally Murphy
Published by Walker Books Australia on 2010
Pages: 127
Source: ARC received from publisher
Buy on Amazon

John is obsessed with dominoes. But not with playing the traditional game, he is obsessed with toppling. He spends hours setting up spirals, ramps, patterns and lines of dominoes all for that satisfying toppling beginning with a small push in the right direction - everything falls as it is meant to. When John's friend Dom falls sick and is diagnosed with cancer, John and his friends' worlds fall apart. Can they face Dom and support him through his illness? It's hard for all at first but John and his friends find a way to comfort Dom and laugh with him again. They even find support and understanding from an unlikely source within their class, the school bully.

Another wonderful novel by Sally Murphy in the style of her previous novel Pearl verses the World.

It’s definitely worth keeping the tissues nearby if you are reading this with your children. If your kids are reading it by themselves, its worth following up with them to make sure they don’t have any questions or issues arising from the story, as Dom’s diagnosis with cancer and other elements of the story could be confronting for some children.

I love Murphy’s free verse style with her novels and the illustrations by Rhian Nest James are a wonderful complement to the story, adding depth and meaning and enabling Murphy to keep the text and descriptions to a minimum.

I’ve always believed that it is important to give children opportunities to think about ‘bigger’ issues in a way that is age appropriate and I think that Toppling is a wonderful way of doing just that. The free verse format, relatable characters, humorous touches and appealing illustrations all work well together to create a novel that is very readable for a younger audience despite the serious issues it raises (such as serious childhood illness, friendship and bullying).

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  1. Abby

    i have been reading many of Sally Murphy’s wonderful books and this is my favourite! I believe this takes on a strong meaning. I have been writing and analysing her books for a assignment and chose this book. it is lovely to be able to visualise the story by Sally’s awesome language features! 😉

    1. Susan

      I love Sally’s books and there is so much there to consider in her verse novels. I’m glad that you have enjoyed reading them and thinking about them more deeply.

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