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Trapped by James Moloney


by James Moloney

Other authors: Shaun Tan (Illustrator)

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Originally published in Australia in 1996, this simple chapter-book by James Moloney was recently reprinted by Minnesota-based Stone Arch Books, who specialize in "Hi-Lo" books aimed at young people reading significantly below their age and grade level. These "High Interest/Low Level" titles present fairly mature characters and themes in simple language that below-level students will understand, in the hopes that struggling older readers will not be put off by "babyish" stories. Other titles in the series include J. Burke's The Deadly Doll and Shaun Tan's The Haunted Playground, both of which were also imported from down under.

Trapped is the story of David, a young boy who has recently moved to a new town, and who has a ghostly encounter while skateboarding in a local drainpipe. I can't honestly say I found it all that suspenseful (the book took less than twenty minutes to read), although young readers might enjoy the creepy atmosphere Moloney creates. However that may be, I didn't actually hunt this down for the story - I'm no longer a reading tutor, and Hi-Lo books aren't of much interest in any other situation. It is as a devoted fan of Chinese-Australian artist Shaun Tan, who provided the etching-like illustrations for this series, that I sought it out.

Sadly, the artwork here is nothing like the vibrant, colorful paintings to be found in picture-books like The Red Tree or The Rabbits, nor does it have quite the same eerie quality as some of the etchings found in The Deadly Doll, although the portrait of Simon has potential. This is one I would recommend primarily to reading tutors, and the students they help. There is even a mini-glossary at the rear, as well as study questions. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jul 17, 2013 |
Our young hero has just moved to a new town and is itching to try out his skateboard in a big storm pipe that seems perfect for skateboarding. As he's about to enter the huge cement tunnel, some local boys come to warn him off, telling him that there was a terrible accident the previous year and that two boys were badly hurt. But of course, our young man can't resist the call of the wild. Did curiosity kill the skateboarder?

I borrowed this book from the library in my quest to get my hands on every book that Shaun Tan of The Arrival and The Lost Thing fame, has worked on. A handful more great etchings by him and the story was fine, but I've never been a fan of skateboarding, actually find it stupidly reckless, so can't say this story really spoke to me. ( )
  Smiler69 | Jul 4, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Moloneyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Tan, ShaunIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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David and his parents move to a new town with a huge storm drain that would be perfect for skateboarding, and in spite of hearing warnings about a terrible accident that occurred there, David is determined to try it out.

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