Top positive review
Initially I Was Turned Off
Reviewed in the United States on June 1, 2019
The examples of what made Spiky so bad are going to make people think, "serial killer," however, we have to keep in mind that children don't think of it like that. They're more likely to turn up their noses, or ask questions, about Spiky's behavior. If they don't then the parents may have bigger problems on their hands . . .. Furthermore, they've likely already seen other kids, or will see, do these things. I know in the 1st grade I watched one of my classmates pluck the legs off a Daddy Longlegs then throw its poor body to the ground and laugh. This would be an opportune time to open a dialogue with a child about why that behavior is wrong and to discuss the things they can do to stop the behavior or tell an adult about it. Bearing that in mind, I'm still squirming at the content because I think it's too dark and heavy for the target audience.
The rest of the story was a good example of how someone can turn around their life, regardless of a seemingly predestined route. Let's think of kiddos whose parents are pieces of #%$^ for a moment. Those children might fall into the trap of thinking that's how their life is supposed to be, and that they, too, must be a dreg of society. One change in life, or a positive influence, can reroute that destiny. I feel this book illustrates that possibility.
Could the book have skipped the wing picking and the hole poking? Sure. But . . . wasn't a witch in one of our most beloved tales going to cook children and instead got cooked herself, and another saw a stepmother instructing her stepdaughter's heart to be cut out, or how about the witch poisoning a young girl with an apple, or the wolf who ate the grandmother? And those were the toned-down-for-children versions.