Book review:The Doppleganger Chronicles: GP Taylor
The First Escape: The Doppleganger Chronicles by GP Taylor (Tyndale. £12.99)
How do you get reluctant readers to pick up a book and actually stick with the story until the final page?
GP Taylor, the Shadowmancer author, thinks he might well have cracked the enduring problem with his latest book, The First Escape, the first in the Doppleganger series.
The book combines text, full page illustrations, word art, graphics and a manga comic strip to tell the adventure story.
Each page has a black border, which keeps the child’s eye on the page. (It also mimics a computer screen.) In addition, the pages are tinted cream so that children with reading difficulties find it easier to read.
Apparently he has tested it out in schools with children who have dyslexia, ADHD and other special needs that cause difficulties with literacy to great success.
So, the techniques for keeping the children actually looking at the page work, but the story itself plays a crucial part in this tricky equation.
Luckily, GP Taylor has produced an exciting, page-turner of a read and the transition between graphic novel and manga-style comic adds to the dynamism of the story.
It centres on 14-year-old twins Saskia and Sadie Dopple, who live in the Isambard Dunstan School for Wayward Children. The place is run by the tyrannical Miss Rimmer, who hates her charges – especially the twins.
When creepy writer Muzz Elliott arrives at the school to adopt a child, she takes just one of the twins, leaving the other bereft.
When the twin left behind cooks up a plan with friend Erik Morrissey Ganger to find her sister, she discovers enemies a plenty and dangers that terrify them. They don’t know who to trust or who to believe, but our feisty girl is determined to overcome all the obstacles to be reunited with her soulmate.
It is highly recommended, but it isn’t just for reluctant readers. Everyone will enjoy this tantalising tale for young teens/upper Key Stage two.