Why did I ever stop reading Morris Gleitzman? I read some of his books when Son was the right age, and when he moved on, I moved on. But you just don’t move on from Morris and his books. His latest one, Too Small to Fail, is as wonderful as I wanted it to be.
The cover is intriguing. Small boy. As is to be expected. Small dog. That too is normal. Pile of money. Less so. Camel. No.
But it works.
The first sentence is ‘Oliver wanted more,’ and that’s enough to make you take notice. Olivers tend to want more. But the thing is, this Oliver has a problem, which is that his parents are too rich. And the wanting more, isn’t Oliver being greedy. He feels there must be more to life than luxury and banking. (His parents are bankers.)
More could be a nice little dog, like the one in the pet shop window, for instance. Oliver would very much like a nice little dog. The little dog wants Oliver quite a lot too.
And then someone buys the dog, and the dog – and possibly Oliver too – is in danger.
This is a good and easy way to understand investment banking. Oliver sort of understands, and the reader will have a decent grasp of it at the end of the book. There isn’t only a dog in need of help. There are 16 camels in dire straits. There is an angry ex-housekeeper and there is an angry and sad orphaned girl.
To save the dog he loves and to make sure the camels are all right, Oliver needs to do some investment banking of his own. His parents continue being busy making more money, until…
Well, let’s just say it’s exciting, and it’s hard to work out how it will work out. I hope there really are little boys like Oliver. We need them more than ever now.