Monday, January 7, 2019

Book Review: 'Fractured: Dereck Dillinger and the Crystal Ball' by Eddie McPherson

Fractured by Eddie McPherson
‘I dreamed Chapman was peeping through my bedroom window or chasing me through a carnival in slow motion’.

Georgia author Eddie McPherson has published more than 70 plays in the educational, children's and religious markets. Dereck Dillinger and the Shortcut to Oz was his first book for kids. He follows that now with Dereck Dillinger and the Crystal Ball in that FRACTURED series. 

From the initial book in this series we learned the ‘Dereck, is a normal thirteen-year-old boy who has agreed to take care of his five-year-old sister, Jessie, while their mother is away overnight. As the big brother, he intends to keep his sister safe, taking on the role of their dad who died in a car accident the year before. Derek loves his sister, but her constant need of his attention is starting to get on his nerves. However his mom is always reminding him to spend time with his little sister.’

Now In Book 2 Eddie transports Dereck into new (equally fantastical) adventures. As his synopsis states, ‘When Dereck Dillinger is swept away into a mystical world after his little sister, Jessie, mysteriously disappears at the carnival he is faced with many challenges in his quest to rescue her. He interacts with familiar storybook and nursery rhyme characters and has to figure out the right answer to a riddle in order to evoke the magic of the crystal ball that is the key to finding their way home. Betrayed at every turn by those who claim to be his friends how can he ever hope to succeed?’

The mood is set and the pleasure of following this delightful little character through his coping with fantasies is a joy – due, mainly, to the style of writing Eddie uses – ‘My six-year-old sister screamed. The blue, pink and green horses bobbed up and down to the carnival music that poured from inside the carousel. Jessie stuck her legs straight out as she held the leather strap attached to the plastic horse’s nose. Every time the horse made a complete circle, she waved at me as though she hadn’t seen me in days. “Hey, Derrick!” She laughed. “Hey, Jessie!” I waved back, then stood and waited for her to come around again. From the corner of my eye, I spotted two boys from my school, trying to shoot basketballs into hoops attached to a beat-up backboard. I envied them. I had been about to come to the fair with a few of my friends, but at the last minute, Mom called from work letting me know she would have to stay late at the office.’

The style is theatrical and flavorful and full of fun ideas and stretches of the imagination. This is an excellent second installment - and it is obvious there are more to follow. A perfect new series for the ages 9 – 12 audience (and older….!)

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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