“The Climbing Boys” takes place in Dublin in the 1800’s. The main character is Hugh O’Dare. He lives in a poor family and when his dad breaks his arm he has to leave school and work as a climbing boy with his two brothers. Out of nowhere a man and his climbing boy try to take Hugh and his brother’s job so Hugh has to find a way to scare them off.
What is a climbing boy? A climbing boy is a little child who climbs up chimneys to clean it and when they get to the top they have to slide down and pick up the soot to get paid.
The story takes an interesting turn when Hugh meets a famous figure in Irish history. Hugh is cleaning Daniel O’Connell’s chimney and when he comes back down from the chimney he comes face to face with Daniel O’Connell himself. He starts talking with him about how hard life is as a climbing boy. The Irish hero gives Hugh some good advice. However, soon after that Hugh meets someone who’s life is even harder than his. I liked this part because I found it more intriguing.
Three more parts I liked about it are that Hugh’s family may be struggling but his family always has a good time and how he is so nice to help give that person a better life and how he has to tell his best friend why he hasn’t been seeing them. These things show his character to be kind, caring and truthful. And watch out for the amazing plot twist!
I would recommend this book for people who are aged 9 and over.
By Bradán, aged 12, 6th Class Bayside SNS, Dublin 13
“The Climbing Boys” by Ann Murtagh, published by O’Brien Press, is on sale now for €9.99 (P/B).
Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher, O’Brien Press, free of charge to Seomra Ranga for the purposes of this review.