Year 4 Book Club- Small Change For Stuart by Lissa Evans

For our final meeting of this academic year, Narnia Book Club (year 4) gathered around the orange table to discuss Lissa Evans Small Change for Stuart.

The novel follows the adventures of Stuart, a boy who is small of stature despite having rather tall parents. This confusion aside, Stuart proves himself to be a plucky young protagonist when he moves to Beeston over the summer holidays and (with the help of April from next-door) he begins to unravel the secret of his long-lost Uncle Tony. Rife with mayhem, magic and mystery, Small Change for Stuart is a genuinely fun and engaging novel, which will leave you gasping for the second instalment, Big Change for Stuart.

After starting with a selection of riddles similar to the ones Stuart himself had to unpick, we began to dissect the book: overall Small Change for Stuart was very well received! Several Book Cubbers noted that the characters were excellently ‘detailed’, and they enjoyed the description of characters like Leonara and her guide-dog Pluto, who were both, intriguing and amusing.

In particular Evans’ description of Teeny, Tiny, Tony Hortens’ contraptions and his ‘old-fashioned’ style of magic was particularly popular among the Book Clubbers who felt that his element set this book apart.

However the magical element also divided the group a little, while most of us understood that nowadays we think of magic tricks as illusions, Evans’ had left us guessing as too how Tony had managed his ultimate disappearing act…did Teeny Tiny Tony Horten possess actual magical powers?

In order to understand, we looked at the Oxford Dictionary definition of magic which stated that magic is ‘the power of apparently influencing events by using mysterious or supernatural forces,’ we then cross referenced this with our own modern understanding of magic shows by watching CBBC magic show clips, before watching an Ed Morelle magic show from the era in which Teeny Tiny Tony Horten would have performed. We all loved comparing the magic shows and we were unanimous- the older magic shows were far more exciting.

We rounded the final session off with some quick-fire ‘slight of hand’ demonstrations and chocolate tea cakes- perfection!