UK cover illustrated
by David Dean
Philippine cover illustrated
by Rommel Joson
Booktrust 100 Best Books
of the Last 100 Years
Kirkus Starred Review
... An impressively
sweet and rich tale
50 Best Diverse
Quirky, unusual and filled with affectionate humour.
Sunday Times Best Book
A feel-good tale ...
making use of Philippine
superstitions and legends,
the novel brings magic to
a down-home story of
earthquakes and sibling love.
Combines wry humour and profound comment on cultural identity ... convincing, witty and poignant story about difference, assimilation and family dynamics.
What you wish is not always what you get even when your wishes come true.
A story about magic, culture clash and basketball.
Illustration by Sarah McIntyre
Andi desperately hopes her long lost half brother Bernardo will be as mad on basketball as she is.
But when he steps off the plane from the Philippines, she can't believe her eyes. How did he get to be EIGHT FOOT TALL?
An eight-foot-tall boy who is about to crash into her life with his size 22 feet. But Bernardo is not what he seems. Bernardo is a hero, Bernardo works miracles, and Bernardo has an amazing story to tell.
A bittersweet story, funny, sad and magical...
PRAISE FOR TALL STORY
LINDA SUE PARK
AUTHOR OF A SINGLE SHARD
...no way anybody could put all that stuff into one relatively short novel and make it work, right? This book is like a magic trick: Hoo boy, does it work! Siblings Andi and Bernardo tell the story of their reunited family--Bernardo arriving in London from the Philippines--with just the right mix of humor and pathos. This would be a *terrific* read-aloud choice, as well as a manual for 'how to succeed with risk-taking in writing fiction.' Brava!
KIRKUS STARRED REVIEW
Gourlay spins slender threads of wishes and prayers, magic and miracles, desires and redemption and weaves together an impressively sweet and rich tale
BOOOKLIST STARRED REVIEW
Working through the many meanings of 'tall story,' first-time author Gourlay slam-dunks this tale of a towering boy from the Philippines and the pint-size, basketball-crazy half sister with whom he has recently been reunited ... This will capture the hearts and minds of sports lovers - and just about everyone else as well.
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL STARRED REVIEW
In her first young adult novel, Gourlay offers an appealing blend of diverse characters, emotional conflicts, well-paced action, and an upbeat finale. The challenges facing separated, immigrant families and the universal teen desire for acceptance and respect ring true.
The possibility of the supernatural woven into a life of struggle makes this faintly reminiscent of Louis Sachar's Holes ... Gourlay is good at describing the comedy of family life and the underlying tragedy of life in a poor country; readers who are in sport will enjoy the drama of Andi's great match against a rival basketball team. This is a lovely book, as colourful, cheerful and original as its cover.
Despite the initially funny tone, the story deepens to become a tale of mystical connection and love between very different people - with an uplifting ending. Gourlay's upbringing in Manila provides the authentic backdrop for this unusual story, which is her first novel.
Tall Story is as much a sweet quirky fable as a coming of age account of two siblings ...Gourlay is herself a Filipina, and her voice rings true as she highlights what separates – and unites – cultures. Tall Story is a refreshing debut that will make children think twice about the power of magic and legends
Tall Story by Candy Gourlay combines wry humour and profound comment on cultural identity. It is an astute coming of age novel. There is an assured quality to the writing which wholly envelops readers in this convincing, witty and poignant story about difference, assimilation and family dynamics
SUNDAY TIMES 100 BEST TITLES
Candy Gourlay's debut novel Tall Story is a feel-good tale about basketball mad Londoner Andi and her 8ft tall Filipino half brother Bernardo, who is reunited with his mother and sister after 16 years of waiting for the necessary papers. Making use of Philippine superstitions and legends, the novel brings magic to a down-home story of earthquakes and sibling love.
MEAT CLEAVER TIME
My best book of the year has to be Tall Story by Candy Gourlay. It just has to"
BOOK WITCH REVEIW
This seriously humorous book is incredibly sweet. The way Candy has woven what happens into an intriguing story is most impressive ... Tall Story is the kind of book which even as early as in January you can say will be one of the best in 2010.
What I particularly liked about this book, beyond the talented writing, is Candy's ability to mix many different themes; it covers witchcraft and curses, mythical stories of giants protecting the land from earthquakes, gigantism (a very real condition), as well very contemporary themes of poverty, immigration and integration, sibling relationships, and cultural identity and differences ... Candy Gourlay is great new and original voice in children's literature and I very much look forward to seeing what she has in store for us next. Read
... hats off to Candy Gourlay. Tall Story is a cracking debut, and I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys multi-layered, heartwarming stories with a touch of magic. A potential classic.
You can’t really fail with a book that opens 'Rush hour. So many armpits, so little deodorant' can you?
WRITING FROM THE TUB
It’s one of those books that is so sweet it makes me want to frolic through a field with a puppy or something, in a good way. When I finished the book I sat back for a few minutes and savoured what I had read, feeling all warm and fuzzy and that definitely cannot be a bad thing.
MY FAVOURITE BOOKS
...deliciously wonderful and uplifting and it made me laugh and cry at the same time. I definitely think that David Fickling Books have a winner on their hands and I hope that Tall Story makes a big splash because it genuinely does deserve it. Small in size, but big in impact, Tall Story won't leave a dry eye in the house. It's so many things but mostly it's powerful storytelling at its best.
PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN
...this is a very touching and down-to-earth story about a family, about making choices and having to live with the consequences. You will laugh out loud at some of the moments and cry your heart out in others. And as everyone in the book falls for Bernardo, you will fall for this unique and original story !"
The biggest thing about Tall Story is not eight-foot Bernard, but the magical way Candy Gourlay brings two very different people and cultures together, and makes us believe it was meant to be.
The book is categorised as a children's story, but honestly, there are underlying messages that the author would like to convey, not only for those kids who love to play basketball, who believe in myths/tales, but also for adults (like me) being captivated with Filipino hero characters (like Bernardo Carpio, Darna, Ang Panday, and many others) and supertitious beliefs. And most importantly, the story rekindles the human spirit, hope, faith and courage .
RUEL S DE VERA
PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER
Gourlay’s Tall Story is a lovable, accessible tale of two siblings, basketball and realizing the difference between the things that we want the most and the things that really matter.
ANDREA PASION FLORES
TEN BEST BOOKS OF 2010, SPOT PHILIPPINES
The heartbreak of leaving family members behind to work abroad and enduring years of separation may be an all too familiar scenario for Pinoys. While it might be considered too heavy for young readers, this is the art of Candy Gourlay. The author tells the story of basketball fan Andi, a young English girl whose 8- foot-tall Filipino stepbrother Bernardo was separated from her and their mom for 16 years while waiting for his papers to come through. Then one day, it finally happens--Andi and her stepbrother both find themselves in London. Things don't turn out as expected, and two siblings discover that sometimes, the unforeseen may be conquered with the power of shared wishes.
Reading a young adult novel like TALL STORY, a retelling of a legend I heard as a kid and situating the characters in the modern times of high-tech communication, of cell phones, email, personal digital assistants, and the like tells me no tale is ever tall. Something or anything TALL is relative, and that any obstacle or challenge that seems bad at first may not be at all.
PHILIPPINE ONLINE CHRONICLES
Tall Story is a poignant, heartwarming story of clashing cultures, of family and sibling love, with just the right amount of magic, tears and laughter. This is one story that everyone, whether British, Filipino or otherwise, would not regret having read.
CARMELA G. LAPENA
In the end, it isn't just that "Tall Story" is well-written that makes it a good read. From the opening lines "Rush hour. So many armpits. So little deodorant," the reader is hopelessly captivated, and before you can say "I couldn't put it down," the 300 pages have been turned."
CHACHIC'S BOOK NOOK
A lot of us can relate to Bernardo’s story and how hard it is to live away from those you love. I think it’s great that a Filipino author with a young adult book has been published internationally because I’d love for you guys to read this book. It has a wonderful blend of contemporary fiction and Filipino mythology, resulting in a cohesive story that has a lot of heart.
DARK CHEST OF WONDERS
Candy Gourlay’s voice is a refreshing breath of air, writing in an accessible, kid-friendly, charming style peppered with comic wit.
ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD
INIS MAGAZINE, IRELAND
This book addresses many issues and gives readers a perspective on the feelings of inadequacy and strangeness experienced by those trying to master a new language while learning to adjust to new and complex family situations in unfamiliar suirroundings. The author skilfully and humorously draws the reader into the worlds and experiences of the half-siblings - and passes on a wealth of information about the world that unifies them. Click on the image to read the full review
Candy Gourlay has made an incredibly complex structure flow like runny honey off a spoon. If this is her first novel I can't wait to see her next ...Look out for this in the 2010 awards. With an original plot, superb structure, impressive characterisation and equal boy girl appeal, I think we are sure to hear more of Tall Story.
IRISH EXAMINER, IRELAND
Issues of separation, being different and family values are treated with humour and insight.