Children’s Book Reviews
Children's Book Review: Revenge on the Fly
Publish April 29, 2014
It’s 1912, and twelve-year-old William and his father are sailing from Ireland to Canada to start a new life. Before they left, a disease took the lives of Will’s mother and sister, and it’s at his new school in Hamilton that Will finds out the reason why—it’s the fault of the lowly fly. To curb the spread of disease, the local newspaper sponsors a Save the Baby, Kill the Fly competition, with a fifty dollar prize going to the student who can kill the most flies. Will is determined to win that money. Not only will it help his dad buy them a house, but it will also be sweet revenge for his mother and sister. In Revenge on the Fly, award-winning author Sylvia McNicoll breathes life into this little-known snippet of history. Through Will’s eyes we see, hear and smell his city; from its poor rooming houses to its grand mansions. Girls and boys, rich and poor, all enter the contest, pitting hardworking immigrants against the privileged few with all the prejudices, jealousies, and yearning attached to socio-economic disparity. Boys in particular will be fascinated by the uncountable ways one can swat, squish, pinch and vacuum up flies (not to mention some gruesome uses for manure). It’s how you win, not what you win; who you are, not what you have. These are hard lessons to learn when revenge is on your mind. In a true test of successful historical fiction, we are completely immersed in Will’s world, and readers will await the outcome of the competition with bated breath. Revenge on the Fly By Sylvia McNicoll 978-1-92748-556-9 Pajama Press February, 2014 216 pp Ages 8-12 Penny Draper lives in Victoria, British Columbia. She is the author of the award-winning “Disaster Strikes!” series, historical fiction that places young protagonists at the centre of real Canadian disasters. The National Reading Campaign publishes children’s book reviews under a Creative Commons License. This review is entirely free to reproduce and republish online and in print. Credit must be given to the reviewer and the National Reading Campaign. Reviews can be edited for brevity only. Contact Us for more information.