Tall Story Reviews

Jenny Woolf, Ham & High:

The School Librarian


Book Witch, Meat Cleaver Time: "My best book of the year has to be Tall Story by Candy Gourlay. It just has to" Read

Book Witch Review: "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." Read

Library Mice: "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

Mel Rogerson, Chicklish "... 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." Read

KM Lockwood "You can’t really fail with a book that opens 'Rush hour. So many armpits, so little deodorant' can you?" Read

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." Read

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." Read

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 !" Read

Jim Calliote's Blog "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." Read


Rey Ramos. "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 ..." Read

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. Read

Andrea Pasion Flores picks the Ten Best Pinoy Books of 2010, Spot.ph. 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. Read

Angelo Ancheta, Cerebral Cap: 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.

Tina Matanguihan, 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, GMA News TV: "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." Read

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." Read

Jzhun Agev, Dark Chest of Wonders Blog: "Candy Gourlay’s voice is a refreshing breath of air, writing in an accessible, kid-friendly, charming style peppered with comic wit." Read


Liz Morris of Inis Magazine (Ireland) writes: 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

Claire Larson, ReadPlus (Australia) : "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." Read

Mary Arrigan, Irish Examiner (Ireland):
Issues of separation, being different and family values are treated with humour and insight. Read the mention