David Fickling Books website
By Candy Gourlay
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Be careful what you wish for . . .

Andi is short. And she has lots of wishes. She wishes she could play on the school basketball team, she wishes for her own bedroom, but most of all she wishes that her long lost half brother, Bernardo, could come and live in London, where he belongs.

Then Andi's biggest wish comes true and she's minutes away from becoming someone's little sister. As she waits anxiously for Bernardo to arrive from the Philippines, she hopes he'll turn out to be tall and just as mad as she is about basketball. When he finally arrives, he's tall all right. But he's not just tall ... he's a GIANT.

In a novel packed with humour and quirkiness, Gourlay explores a touching sibling relationship and the clash of two very different cultures.

It is a fantastic story that will make you laugh and cry
Anita Marion Loughreyhttp://amloughrey.blogspot.com/2010/05/tall-story-by-candy-gourlay.html

Tall Story combines wry humour and profound comment on cultural identity .
convincing, witty and poignant

The Booksellerhttp://sarwatchadda.blogspot.com/2010/05/tall-story-by-candy-gourlay.html

It isn't often that I am in fits of laughter one minute and in tears the
next - TALL STORY is one of the warmest, funniest, most moving books I've
read in a long time - and Candy Gourlay is a rare and new voice in
children's fiction.

Bella Pearsonhttp://sarwatchadda.blogspot.com/2010/05/tall-story-by-candy-gourlay.html

Marvellous ... Tall Story is the kind of book which even as early as in
January you can say will be one of the best in 2010

Book Witchhttp://sarwatchadda.blogspot.com/2010/05/tall-story-by-candy-gourlay.html

Go and check it out, it's different, it's great and will give you a fresh insight into a brand new world

This is one of the sweetest and most refreshing books I've read this year. It is a very sweet story, extremely well written and deeply enjoyable !

One of those books where you're laughing and crying at the same time - that sounds incredibly trite, but it's true.
Keren Davidhttp://wheniwasjoe.blogspot.com/2010/05/tall-story.html

Small in size, but big in impact, Tall Story won't leave a dry eye in the house. It's so many things but mostly it's powerful storytelling at its best.

Engagingly told��

The book is a delight to read and just draws you in as you see the story either from Andi's perspective or Bernardo's. The book deals sympahtically with the potential clash of cultures...It was a feel good book without being slushy. A great debut, can't wait for the next one.

Tall Story by Candy Gourlay may not be in the shops just yet. Soon� But I have received my real copy, and it is a beauty...

�a novel packed with humour and quirkiness�
Books Monthlyhttp://www.booksmonthly.co.uk/children.html

With the growing number of children both playing and watching basketball in this country, this could be a surprise hit for the summer.
The Daily Mail

a bittersweet, funny, poignant and magical story. It will make you cry and it will make you laugh out loud. It is a story about wishes and being careful what you wish for. It is a tale of basketball, mythology and of a brother and sister separated by bureaucracy and bound by love...It is a cross-cultural novel but without being heavy on cross-cultural issues. It is the very best kind of story, beautifully told and powerfully written. Buy it and read it. You�ll love it.
Absolute Vanilla Blog

This exuberantly written, many layered novel moves at a cracking pace with lots of short, pithy chapters. It touches with a light hand on the experience of a separated family learning to get to know each again. The problem of gigantism is sympathetically broached and the reader can identify with Bernardo and with his feisty younger sister. This is an ambitious and impressive debut from Philippina journalist Candy Gourlay who has much to bring to literature for young readers.
Books for keeps online

When the opening few sentences of a book are:
Rush hour. So many armpits, so little deodorant.
You know you are on to a good thing!
(I think Candy made badges with that phrase on, if I am not mistaken!)
This neat little volume is perfectly formed in shape (lovely design from David Fickling books, as ever) and in content. Written in two voices, Andi's and Bernardo's, it reads very easily and very quickly, and this is a credit to Candy Gourlay's talent as a storyteller. Her writing is witty, quirky and hugely enjoyable. If you have ever read, her blog, Notes from the Slushpile, this will not be news to you. I laughed out loud for example at this exchange between Andi and her mother:
'Filipinos are the most hospitable people in the word.''But I'm English.'
'You're half Filipino'
This resonates so true to me, as I often have this exact conversation with my own children!

What I particularly liked about this book, beyond the talented writing, is Candy's ability to mix many different themes; it covers witchcraft and curses, mythical stories of giants protecting the land from earthquakes, gigantism (a very real condition), as well very contemporary themes of poverty, immigration and integration, sibling relationships, and cultural identity and differences. It shouldn't really work, and yet they cohabit perfectly!
I thought Bernardo�s flashbacks to his younger years were particularly well crafted and touching. The analogy between his fits and him thinking he is carrying the weight of the Earth was one of the things that most touched me in the story, translating Bernardo's feelings for his community and his guilt about leaving them. It is a bittersweet story about being careful what you wish for, and whether it makes laugh, cry, or both, or even neither, it certainly won't leave you unmoved. Candy Gourlay is great new and original voice in children's literature and I very much look forward to seeing what she has in store for us next.

Library Mice http://www.librarymice.com/2010/07/tall-story.html

The book is a delight to read and just draws you in as you see the story either from Andi's perspective or Bernardo's. The book deals sympathetically with the potential clash of cultures with part of the book being centred in San Andres. I am not going to include any spoilers in this review because I just think you should read it. It was a feel good book without being slushy.
A great debut, can't wait for the next one Candy.


It's sometimes shocking, sometimes amusing, sometimes moving. The writing is just the right pace to keep the reader turning the pages, and although intended for older children and teenagers, it appealed to me as an adult. It's the kind of book I'd love to have read aloud to my sons if they were still living at home...
There's a hint of magic, there's some increasing tension, and there's a growing awareness of a bond between this unlikely brother and sister which almost brought a tear to my eye.
All in all, I thought it an excellent read. Many thanks to the publishers for sending it.

Sue Fairheadhttp://www.thebookbag.co.uk/reviews/index.php?title=Tall_Story_by_Candy_Gourlay

I do often enjoy fiction intended for older children/younger teens, but sometimes find they're rather too gritty and stark for my tastes. So I really wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I shouldn't have worried. 'Tall Story' is a terrific read...The book covers sexism, and biased teachers, and parental pressure, and cultural expectations. It covers superstition, too, with a little magic that is never explained. There's ongoing tension, since Bernardo starts collapsing... and there's humour too. The book is nicely paced, very readable, and is exactly the kind of story I'd love to have read aloud to my sons if they were still living at home.
Sue Fairheadhttp://suesbookreviews.blogspot.com/2010/07/tall-story-by-candy-gourlay.html

an enchantingly original story...This is one of those rare windows into another culture to treasure...don�t miss a touchingly funny coming-of-age story by a talented author.
Amanda CraigThe Times

A BRILLIANT novel about eight foot tall Bernardo from the Philippines, his sister Andi who lives in London, and their mutual love of basketball.
Andi desperately hopes to be reunited with her long lost half-brother, Bernardo but when he arrives in England she sees a giant with size 22 feet! But Bernardo is not what he seems. Bernardo is a hero, works miracles and has an amazing story to tell.
A magical bittersweet tale which is both funny and sad, Tall Story focuses on the themes of friendship and familial love with a liberal sprinkling of mystery and folklore.


Read it? Write a review and tell us what you thought of Tall Story.
1 Review

Jean Webster
A brilliant story. I couldn't put it down and have passed it on to a teacher friend who loved it, too. She is going to read it to her class in September.