Under the Skin ISBN: 9781781120835
Published by Barrington Stoke, 2012
The Barrington Stoke books are aimed at children with dyslexia or other learning disabilities, and the cream paper and clear print, as well as the top authors who write for them, make the books first class for purpose. MacPhail has given us a rousing tale of a boy, Omar, who is a refugee from an un-named country. He and his parents are asylum seekers, and until they are given permanent residence, they live in a run-down flat on the 15th floor of a tower block. Omar is learning English, and he finds the idiomatic expressions funny and hard to undersand, but he is happy to be in Britain, away from thae torture and false imprisonment of his homeland. Being a feisty lad, he gets into fights with the boy who lives on the 10th floor, Sam, and he also has to put up with Mrs Brown, his next door neighbour, who doesn't like children. In letters to his cousin, he makes light of this rather dire situation and looks forward to Chat and his father joining them in Britain, and as time goes by, he and Sam come to an understanding and begin to discover they are brothers 'under the skin'. This short (53 pp) and often funny book by a master story teller shows clearly some of the problems of those who come to this country in need of help and reassurance. Some gritty black and white illustrations add to the complexity of the story.