Bookworm is a feature whereby I follow a trail of children’s books – linking them by author, illustrator, subject or any other random connection that takes my fancy.
I wasn’t sure where to go next after my adventures with the Rats of Nimh. I didn’t want anything with more talking rodents, so a subject link was out, and since I wasn’t overly impressed with Nimh, I didn’t really want to stay with the same author.
So where to go?
Eventually, I had a look at the back of the book, where the publisher had advertised some of their other titles, and picked out one which I thought looked interesting. As far as I can remember, I have never ever read a book purely based on one of these adverts, but there is a first for everything.
Rags and Riches caught my eye because it was apparenly an “entertaining book by a supreme storyteller”. I have to admit, I had never heard of Joan Lingard, so I did a little digging into her literary repertoire. Turns out she has written a lot of books – Goodreads lists 72 distinct works. And it claims she is best known for her “Kevin and Sadie” series, which have sold over a million copies. Never heard of them either. So I was intrigued.
Did it live up to it’s promises? Well it was, um, weird. There didn’t seem to be any discernible storyline. Sure, they found the fur coat lined with money in chapter one, but then it was sold. And that was that. No further mention of it. The book was a kind of rambling hodgepodge of mini incidents that happen to the characters in the boutique. Some of them, such as Granny, had the potential to be interesting, but since there was no plot to carry them along, they weren’t really developed. I kept waiting for all of these incidents to be tied together neatly and for it all to make sense, but I’m sorry to say I didn’t finish it, so I have no idea if that happened or not. After a couple of weeks of me picking it up and putting it down again, bored, a few pages later, I gave up. Maybe Joan Lingard is a “supreme storyteller” but I’m afraid there wasn’t much evidence of it in this book. No silver linings for me I’m afraid.
If you have read any of Lingard’s books, and can convince me to try her again, let me know!