Review: Centaur in the city, Exact change only

I got this book from minibookexpo

Well, it’s a children’s book and only 33 pages, so it took me a little more than an hour to finish it. Hugh Rye is a centaur. Now how many of you know what a centaur is? Well, yes, half horse and half man, similar to the one on the cover of this book. So Hugh’s mom is a human and his dad is a horse (or a centaur? I am a little confused here). And believe it or not, his mother falls in love with this horse and as a result they have Hughie. Now Hughie’s mother and father want to get married and his mother wants her parents or anyone related to be there for the wedding. So Hughie sets off to search his human relatives in the city.

This city has a door which you are allowed to enter only if you have 3 groatis or five and six pence in dinairi. So what is it? I have no clue. But based on common sense I’ll assume it’s the local currency, which would have been fine if the author would have gone off to explain how many dinairis and groatis make for the exact change. He goes on for about 2-3 pages which I was very tempted to skip, but I didn’t. I mean having to skip 2-3 pages out of a 33 pages book is shameful.
The guard asks Hughie to pay, and yes, you guessed it, he does not have exact change. So with the help of 3 weird characters, he tries to gain an illegal entry in the city. The guards obviously throw him and his friends in a dungeon. In the dungeon, all of them decide to testify against each other so that they can get off with little or no punishment from the court.

Finally in the court room drama, Hughie finds his grandfather.

The biggest problem I find with the book are the words used. There are words like masonry, seraphs, regicide, extenuating, ablutions and many more for which I had to consult a dictionary. At one point though, I stopped.
The second problem with the book are the double meaning sentences used. I wonder how parents are going to explain them to the kids. As we all know kids are very inquisitive and want to know everything.
For e.g.
“What is the probably your best option is to plead guilty and seek extenuating circumstances.”
“Wouldn’t that be rather painful?” Hughie asked in concern. “What if I want to have children later?”.
“Circumstances, not circumcisions,” Corrected the advocate.

All in all, I found the book to be an ok read. But Norman Dubeski is a good writer. May be he should try writing an adult or a YA novel next time; he might just be good at it. Or may be someone can let me know what age-group of children this book is targeted to. Or maybe this isn’t a children’s book at all. I mean, how would I know, it doesn’t say so anywhere.

5 thoughts on “Review: Centaur in the city, Exact change only

Add yours

  1. Hmm….according to Amazon, it’s not a children’s book – at least it doesn’t offer an age range (which it usually does). Or maybe they don’t know what it is. Either way, I think I’ll stay away from this one.


  2. If I were to belive this is not a childrens book, why do you think an adult or even a teenager would buy a 33 pages book? I would simply prefer to read it in the bookstore itself.


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