Bobby Parrish has finished school for the summer and is excited about helping his father on his boat. However, the first thing that needs to be done is to get rid of the seals which eat the fish and threaten the fishermen’s livelihood. Bobby’s father, Brian, calls all the children together and tells them that they will be paid a pound for each seal’s flipper they bring back. The kids practise together with Babe Meara leading the way, but as they practise Bobby realises that he might not be able to kill a seal. He is worried that his father will be disappointed with him if he can’t. A few days later, he borrows his grandfather’s club and goes looking for seals. He finds a small seal cub on the beach, and raises the club above his head, but can he do it, can he kill a seal?
This is a coming of age story about growing up and about making choices. These are choices which can have an impact on young lives. The novel intercuts the actual hunting of the seal with the preparations beforehand so that the reader knows that the seal is in jeopardy from the first page but does not know its fate until the end. It is a story that builds up the excitement and anticipation and cleverly keeps the reader guessing. The brutality of the subject matter is dealt with sensitively and carefully.
This is an addition to Barrington Stoke’s Conker imprint, which is aimed at providing greater reading confidence to struggling and reluctant readers. It is to Barrington Stoke’s usual high standard, and contains all the usual Barrington Stoke design hallmarks as well as being dyslexia-friendly. However, it is good to remember that books in the Conker imprint can also be enjoyed by other readers.