BARRY AND THE CHRONICLES
by Alun Davies
Valley Boy Ltd
Middle Grade Fantasy
ages 8 and up
Barry encounters an evil force of Witches intent on capturing the minds of young children with a view to making themselves more and more powerful.Barry finds other Spiders along the way to help him stop their plans and together they battle for the upper hand.
Throughout the story there are constant references to The Spider Chronicles because it is a book of instruction, philosophy and meaning whose teachings are to be both followed and believed if good is to prevail over evil. Sometimes the content is easily understood but it cannot always be so and readers of all ages must seek the many messages being delivered.
The way Barry's life evolves is quickly read but hard to forget; there are many threads to follow and weave.This story could stay with you for years to come.
This is a lovely mix of a witches, a slight bit of special talents and one very special spider and its adventures.
Barry is a young spider with much to learn. He follows The Spider Chronicles like all other spiders, a book of spider wisdom and guidelines, and has a few special talents, which allow him to share some level of contact with other species including humans. When he runs across some witches and their evil plans, he decides to do what he can to stop them.
This book is written with the input of a strong narrative, who, at times, almost takes on a character roll all of itself. The narration is interesting and provides everything needed for the story at the right time. While it flows seamlessly into the plot, it does occasionally 'talk down' to the reader, which may or may not bother the intended age group.
Barry is a brave spider, who thinks a little further than his fellow spiders and, although young, has a nice bit of wisdom. His adventures are fun and interesting, and hold messages for the reader along the way. The chapters, especially the first ones, read a bit like individual tales. The over-reaching story arch is clever and original, as Barry, the spider, tries to stop the witches from their evil plot against children. It never borders on boring and keeps a nice pace the whole way through. It's easy to sympathize with Barry and cheer him on.
All in all, this is a cute story for middle graders ages 8 to 10 and works also well as a read-aloud.
And here he is. . .
Originating from the South Wales Valleys, Alun Davies had a varied and extensive career including roles in the Civil Service and international trade and accountancy practices before starting his own business. Now retired he lives in London with his wife and three grown up children. In his spare time he writes music and has written original songs to accompany the release of the animation.