Goblin in the Snow by Victor Kelleher and illustrated by Stephen Michael King, paperback chapter book, 73 pages, published by Random House Australia in 2005.
Gibblewort is an horrible Irish goblin who loves annoying his fellow goblins with pranks and tricks. When they get sick of him, they decide he needs a holiday and suggest he visits the snowy peaks of Austria. Once Gibblewort is inside the post bag they change the address so he goes to Australia, a place he hates with a passion! Here he encounters a dragon, snowboarders and adoring fans, but he’d much rather go home.
This is a very simple story of a grumpy goblin and the adventures he has in the snow of the Australian mountains. It is part of a series of chapter books for lower primary school students, great for children ready to move beyond first readers. The chapters are short with easy language and black and white illustrations on most pages. My second grader really liked Gibblewort, despite his foul demeanour, and is keen to read more of his adventures. As an advanced reader, this was much too easy for her, but she enjoyed the story, and thought it very funny when Gibblewort was mistaken for talking moss.
I liked the idea of a story about a bad-tempered goblin, but this tale didn’t really fulfill my expectations. Gibblewort seemed more unlucky than mean, as he accidentally tumbles down the mountain, accidentally falls in the lake, accidentally gets eaten by a fish. I really thought he would be causing more hilarious havoc! Despite falling short of my expectations of calamitous mischief, the story itself wasn’t bad, and it appealed to my kids, which is what really matters to me.