Inspired by the Hay Lit Fes, Shark, Tiger and Squirrel, age 13, are now delighted to give you the first installment of their literary review The Grit Lit Crits.
Imagine the critics here sitting in comfortable repose, sank in beige sueded armchairs while looking serious and scholarly dressed in loose grey suits of a linen blend. And not shoving each other about for possession of prime top-of-the-staircase seat while dressed in old torn trousers and, inexplicably, a pink sunhat with an iguana pinned to the top.
Here we go, and welcome. (In the absence of an EngLit curriculum we haven't got anything else.)
Critics remain anonymous mostly because everyone talks at once in this house and I couldn't be bothered to try and sort it all out. Make of it what you will.
Chronicles of Ancient Darkness Series by Michelle Paver.
Shut up everybody. I'm talking. Mummy, stop calling her that wolf botherer. Her books are brilliant! She teaches us how to skin deer. And how to make bows and arrows. We have a plan. We are going to sleep in the garden and make nettle stew. [etc etc etc cut for brevity.] It is a pity about the cat.*
The Silent Pool by Griselda Gifford.
I liked it. No, not because it has a twin thing. I don't want you thinking I've got some sort of secret communication with my sisters. [All make noises Ugh Ugh Ugh!]
The Tudor Chronicles Series by Terry Deary.
He's alright. I said alright. If I want to read a good writer I'm not choosing Terry Deary. I said he's alright.
Where the Mountain Meets the Sea by Grace Lin.
I recognise what she writes about. Chinese dragons and stuff. What? What are you saying? Don't talk to me about your cultural perspectives.
The Wanderer by Sharon Creech.
It's all dying this and dying that. Someone has to die. If the parents don't die before she starts, they split up then they die.
The Witch Trade by Michael Molloy.
He's got hold of an idea and he's exploiting it until we've all had enough.
The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle.
It's got dinosaurs in it. How do you mean, What do they do? Are you expecting they drive cars and go to the cinema? [Fifteen minute interlude while we all debate whether a giant mongoose counts as a dinosaur.]
My Sister Jodie by Jacqueline Wilson
Small minded and pointless. Who cares who falls out with who and why? I hated it. Me too. Me too. Me too.
The Historical House Series by various authors
You learn a lot about the history of people living in this one house. It's good. My favourite. If you don't like history or houses you'd be stupid to read this series, wouldn't you?
Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson
She is a good writer. I like her language and she has a good story. I think J.K.Rowling nicked her ideas. And she doesn't have everyone dropping dead all over the place.
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles Series by Patricia Wrede
I'm not sure you can call them good. More like trash. But trash in a good way.
Wilma Tenderfoot Series by Emma Kennedy
It gets a bit repetitive and the plots repeat themselves. It can get annoying with these types of authors. I mean, I look at the bookshelf and there's another one with their name on it. We worked it out ages ago. Do they think we're stupid? I think it's a problem when an author made a lot of money with the first one.
The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean
(Waving book animatedly while stomping downstairs) Read it yourself. I'm getting fed up of you asking questions.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you, and see you in a week for another installment of The Grit Lit Crits. Remember, in this house, there is nowhere to hide.
* We are vegetarian.