You know that feeling you get when you've just finished reading a book by someone else, and you've just finished correcting the proofs of your own book, and you feel so impressed by the book you've just read that you wish you didn't have to return your proofs to the publisher, but could instead take the time to rewrite your own book, and to do it properly?
Well that's how I'm feeling right now, because I've just finished reading Then by Morris Gleitzman (Viking).
All right, without giving away the plot, I just want to mention a couple of things that impress me about this book.
1. It's so simple in style, but packs a huge wallop, which is all any of us as kids' writers can hope to do. And there is plenty of horror in this book, both of a physical and emotional nature, but it remains, for the mid-grade reader, such an accessible read. (Accessible - a word that gets used far too often in our industry, but in this case, it's so true.)
2. The way Morris uses the direct voice to the reader so cleverly. For example, on the first page is this masterpiece of writing for children:
You know how when you and two friends jump off a train that's going to a Nazi death camp and you nearly knock yourself unconscious but you manage not to and your glasses don't even get broken but your friend Chaya isn't so lucky and she gets killed so you bury her under some ferns and wild flowers which takes a lot of strength and you haven't got much energy left for running and climbing?
That's how it is now for me and Zelda.
That's why I haven't put my page-proofs in the mail yet.