Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Figures of Julian Ashcroft by Gary Crew and Hans De Haas

Another obscure and dark publication from Gary Crew first published in 1996 which deals with youth and the supernatural. Fans of Crew, especially The Tower, and Caleb,  will not be disappointed. On his home one day, solitary student, Julian, from a somewhat impoverished family (by Western standards!)  finds a figure which is pretty much a replica of himself. Some months later, whilst on his way to play footy, he purchases another figure exactly the same from a toy shop. However,  upon arriving home and eager to place it alongside the existing figure, he is astonished to find his treasure strangely missing! The story then, suddenly jumps forwards in time when Julian is considering going to university or getting a job. His parents offer him the departing gift of a figure. Yes, you guessed it, the same one he had fielded twice before. What could possibly be going on?  Some years later...he encounters an old woman with claw-like hands offering a curious figure which could contain clues to his future. To find the eternal truth Julian must run "the length of a nightmare."  This is a very unusual picture book which will leave the majority of upper primary readers baffled.  But then again, that is exactly what Crew's books are all about. Enjoy.

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