Magazine article NATE Classroom

The Death-Defying Pepper Roux

Magazine article NATE Classroom

The Death-Defying Pepper Roux

Article excerpt

The Death-defying Pepper Roux

Geraldine McCaughrean, illustrated by

Chris Inns

Oxford University Press 2009

Paperback 6.99 [pounds sterling]


Strange how things work out. This summer, for the first time ever, I took a holiday in France (south Normandy to be exact). I was hugely surprised at what a wonderful time I had, finding the place to be very French (really?) in a way that I can't quite explain. That was where I read The Death-defying Pepper Roux which, ironically, is also very, very French in a way that's hard to explain.

To begin with, well, yes, the book is set in France (this does help). It tells the story of Pepper Roux who, having been told that he will die on his fourteenth birthday and then lived his life anticipating this fate, finds himself the following day, despite several near misses, still very much alive. A wonderfully entertaining and a very strange journey around France then ensues, from the Bay of Biscay, to Marseilles, the Camargue and Aigues-Mortes, in which Pepper attempts to make a new life for himself, despite everything that fate throws against him.

No matter which Geraldine McCaughrean book you read, the one thing that sets them apart is the sparkle of the language. Cue trite sentence: anyone delivering literacy in a school will find this book to be an absolute treasure trove. …

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