There I was, wondering what to give BalletBoy to read now that he’s finished (and almost completely reread) all the Ricky Ricotta books, when the most wonderful little series suddenly popped out at me from the chapter book shelves. They were books with thin covers and a foreign looking design. I immediately had to know what they were. Then I opened one up and discovered they were perfect for BalletBoy.
In some ways, they are the complete antithesis of Ricky Ricotta. Both series are fantasy, but the Tashi books are all about imagination, not about robot battles. However, both series have illustrations on every page and short text, which seems to be a must for BalletBoy in this moment in time.
The series centers on a boy named Jack and his friend Tashi. Tashi is drawn as if he’s an elf whereas Jack is clearly an average boy. In each book, Tashi tells Jack stories of his adventures, which he then relays to his parents, who always ask the wrong sort of questions. The books are simple, but very well-written. I love how they play on the idea of storytelling with multiple layers. The artwork is lovely. The ink drawings are light and imaginative, with loads of details. Apparently the series is well known in Australia, but I’ve never heard of them before now. It was a welcome discovery in our house. Not only would they work for a child reading those stories in the chapter book aisles, but they are good enough to be read alouds for younger children as well. They’re short enough to be read in a single sitting, or if you’re BalletBoy, in a few sittings.