Lizard is a 12-year-old boy who lives a hand to mouth existence in Singapore during the Second World War.
Although befriended by a young girl who helps him with day to day survival, Lizard finds himself dependent on “the Boss man,” a Fagin-like character who doles out assignments to street children. Lizard makes his money picking pockets or stealing to order, but when he is asked to steal a box of documents from Raffles hotel, his life is turned upside down as he is hunted throughout the city, not knowing who he can trust.
This plot has similarities to other children’s/young adult’s books such as Artemis Fowl by Eion Colfer, and Trash by Andy Mulligan, but is none the worse for that. It is an exciting, fast-paced book with the reader being safe in the knowledge that the street children can outwit the unprincipled adults at every turn.
The Auckland based author conjures up a colourful image of Singapore in the 1940s dominated by the British who are in stark contrast with the local population and the book ends with some unresolved issues which hints of the possibility of a sequel.
The cover is brightly covered and appealing, the font is well-spaced and of a good size, and each new chapter page is decorated with black and white tropical-looking foliage which befits the setting of the book.
Title: Lizard’s Tale
Author: Weng Wai Chan
Publisher: Text Publishing
Ages: 10 plus
Reviewer: Anabel McPhee, Librarian, The Catlins Area School, South Otago
How are you recommending this book? Recommended
Opening line: Tropical rain drummed on the red clay roof tiles of Raffles Hotel in Singapore.
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