Googa Nark: A Great Adventure by Brian Moos, e-book, 139 pages, published in 2014.
It has been quite a number of years since I first fell into the world created by J.R.R. Tolkein, but as I began Googa Nark, that is what I was reminded of. The old man, Quibby, comes to tell our hero, Googa Nark, about a quest that he must undertake for the sake of the land and all the creatures in it. And he should set off with the group of companions waiting outside his house immediately. It made me think of reading by torchlight under the covers after bedtime as a child, where one can truly immerse themselves in a fantasy world, such as that of Googa Nark. Lands with strange names and features, odd creatures and plants, but not all that dissimilar to our own world really. There are forests and plains, valleys, mountains and streams, and across all of these, Googa Nark must venture to rescue the princess.
There are many strange words and names in this story, and the author has supplied a very handy glossary at the end of the story to help the reader remember what everything is. It was great to be able to click on the new word and be taken to the glossary and then be taken back to my place in the book. This is a benefit of e-books that I hadn’t much experienced before. I enjoyed so many of these unusual words, but I think there is something so perfect about the word “kanarful” that I might just have to work it into my everyday vocabulary! The only downsize to the bizarre names was my woeful pronunciation whilst reading aloud to my daughter.
The pace was quick, and the plot exciting. Everything flowed nicely as we followed Googa Nark along on his quest. I loved the way that the narrator inserted himself into the story, adding bits here and there. The advice to the kids reading the story was great, like getting parental permission for vine swinging, or not asking too many questions. This feature added to my enjoyment of the story, and made it more like being told the story rather than reading it.
The characters and landscapes were well described and easy to imagine. I liked most of the characters (except the bad ones, like the Booloorg Pirates). Googa Nark really is the perfect hero; strong, intelligent, brave, polite, loyal, modest… the list of compliments could go on for some time! He wondered at the amazing things he encountered, and was grateful for all the help he acquired along the way, making some very good friends. I immediately took to the Crunzy Dragon, what a character! He is huge, hearty and peppers his speech with outbursts of “huh!”. He would be ferocious to anyone who did not know him, but to Googa Nark, he is gentle and protective. I think it would be most useful to be able to sneeze and make copies of myself, as Naabalaak Aak does! I would get so much more done :) I also liked the way that 47 could multiply himself, he karnafuls (oh, I love that word!). What a world of fantastical creatures and incredible lands. I’d love to explore more of this world, and the creatures within more deeply.
Googa Nark is an engaging adventure through a wondrous world to save a princess. There are a handful of battle scenes, but nothing too graphic, and it uses appropriate language for children. Perfect for middle to upper primary school students to read for themselves, Googa Nark is also a wonderful tale to share with younger children. The story ended too soon though, but with a hint that there might be more adventures for Googa Nark to come!
*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.