As part of this year’s ongoing ‘Beyond the Book’ series of lectures and visits for Upper School boys, Year 7 today had the privilege of hearing the children’s author Gareth P. Jones talk – and sing! – about his latest book.
Death or Ice Cream? is a collection of interlinked short stories set in the strange town of Larkin Mills and all, as the title suggests, concerning death or ice cream at some point or another…
Gareth sang some catchy songs, accompanied on his ukulele, with enthusiastic audience participation in the punchy refrains such as “Death… or Ice Cream” and “I scream, You scream, we all scream… “. In between songs, he read a story/chapter from the book entitled The Bargain. Accompanied by his own mournful accordion playing, he related how Olive signed a contract with Miguel, the musical instrument repairer, not realising that she was, in fact making a pact with the Devil.
The combination of this rather dark tale with Gareth’s toe-tapping songs was actually a wonderful metaphor for Death or Ice Cream?, as the book creates exactly that bizarre sense of mismatch in the reader’s mind. The stories are undeniably dark, as they trace the battle between good and evil in the town, and yet they are also wacky and wonderful flights of imagination that stick in the mind like a toe-tapping tune. There are copies in the library, to buy or to borrow, so come along and try the book for yourself!