Benny and Omar (Benny Series #1)

( 1 )

Overview

A poignant and witty tale of an unlikely friendship from the bestelling author of Artemis Fowl

For Benny Shaw, nothing could be worse than having to pick up and move to Africa. Nobody there plays his favorite sport, hurling, the Tunisian heat is grueling, and even his new school is weird with its lovey-dovey hippies for teachers. How will he ever adjust to such a strange place?

Then Benny meets Omar, an orphan whose "English" has come from ...

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Overview

A poignant and witty tale of an unlikely friendship from the bestelling author of Artemis Fowl

For Benny Shaw, nothing could be worse than having to pick up and move to Africa. Nobody there plays his favorite sport, hurling, the Tunisian heat is grueling, and even his new school is weird with its lovey-dovey hippies for teachers. How will he ever adjust to such a strange place?

Then Benny meets Omar, an orphan whose "English" has come from watching TV, and his life skills from surviving on the streets. The two strike up a friendship and their madcap antics quickly become the bane of village life. But when real life intervenes, the boys must take on their biggest and most dangerous ch

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Morton's bristly Scottish brogue emphasizes the fish-out-of-water stature of Colfer's protagonist Benny, an Irish lad who finds himself transplanted, along with his family, to Tunisia. Benny is forced to leave his favorite game of hurling behind, and must struggle with a new school very different from what he knew; he takes solace in meeting Omar, a new friend who helps him adjust to the lay of the land in his new home. Morton reads with a sincerity that helps him serve up Colfer's smooth prose with aplomb. Fans of the author's Artemis Fowl fantasy series will find an entertaining change of pace in this contemporary, more character-driven text, though still plenty of adventure. Ages 10-up. (June)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA - Karen Jensen
Colfer has quite the following of supernatural fans with the entertaining Artemis Fowl series, and they may be surprised when they pick up the more realistic Benny series, originally published in the U.K. in 1998. In Benny and Omar, Benny, a lover of hurling (similar to field hockey), is forced to move with his family to Tunisia. The culture shock is amazing, and he finds it difficult to adjust. Soon Benny befriends an orphan named Omar. When Benny learns of Omar's mentally challenged sister living in an institution, the two set out on an adventure to try to rescue her. Throughout the book, Benny grows and learns to think of others besides himself. In the sequel, Benny and Babe, Benny spends his summer with his grandfather in the country. As a "townie," he tries to find his way "in" with a group of locals through his love of hurling. But he is surprised when he is outmatched by a girl named Babe and her dog. The two soon try out a money-making venture that attracts the interest of local thug Furty Howlin. Throughout the books local Irish colloquialisms and dialect are used, which can sometimes be challenging. Younger teen readers will enjoy and be able to identify with the comedic adventures of Benny. According to the O'Brien Press Web site, Benny and Babe became a number-one bestseller in Ireland and knocked Harry Potter out of the top spot.
KLIATT
Benny Shaw is a scrappy 12-year-old who wants nothing more than to join his hurling team in their attempt to win the All-Ireland Final. But when his father is transferred to a job in Africa, Benny's whole world changes. No one in their new Tunisian home has heard of hurling and no one appreciates Benny's cheeky sarcasm—until Omar comes along. Omar is an orphan who lives by his wits and speaks English only in television phrases. He and Benny become fast friends, which involves Benny sneaking off from the village and taking breakneck rides on Omar's decrepit motorbike. Omar is also determined to save his younger sister from a mental hospital, and of course Benny is enlisted to help. Their adventures are told in a funny, sardonic voice with a quickly shifting perspective. Some degree of stereotyping is present but not overwhelming; issues of loyalty, along with occasional touches of real emotion, add a fully human feeling. Readers who like sports and fast-paced adventures will love both the plot and the challenge of puzzling out Omar's television-talk and the Irish and Tunisian slang. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 1998, O'Brien, dist. by Independent Publishers Group, 237p., $7.95. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Rebecca Rabinowitz; Virginia Haviland Scholar, Ctr. for the Study of C , September 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 5)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-As the hurling champion at Saint Jerome's school, Benny Shaw thinks he has a perfect life-until his parents move the family all the way to North Africa, a lifetime away from Ireland. They've never even heard of hurling in Tunisia. The village school is taught by feel-good hippies and filled with students actually bent on learning. There's no place for a sarcastic, self-centered kid like Benny. Then he meets Omar, a cheerful, scrappy boy surviving on his wits, and the two become fast friends, creating havoc and terrorizing everybody. But when Benny meets Omar's little sister, a drugged resident of the local mental farm, he realizes that his friend's life is more tragic than he had thought and realizes that he must help Omar rescue his sister. Suddenly Benny has to think of someone beside himself, and his ultimate change and personal growth make for a memorable story. At first it's hard to like Benny, even when he's trying to be decent, but Colfer does such a masterful job of mixing humor and tragedy with Benny's smart-alecky remarks that youngsters will like him in spite of themselves. This is a funny, fast-paced read, despite the Irish slang, that provides a wonderful glimpse into some very non-American worlds. -Linda Bindner, formerly at Truman State University, Kirksville, MO Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439925020
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Series: Benny Series , #1
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 5 Compact Discs
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Eoin Colfer

Eoin Colfer used to spend his days teaching elementary school and his nights writing stories. Now he's writing stories full time! If he was not writing, he would still be teaching-or doing his dream job, which is drawing comic books.

Colfer published several award-winning bestsellers, including The Wish List and Benny and Omar, before he started the Artemis Fowl books-all three of which have been bestsellers. He says there will be at least one more book about everyone's favorite criminal genius. “Once Artemis becomes the model citizen, I will have nothing more to say about him. But I think he has a few lessons to learn yet.”

When he's not on a book tour meeting his fans all over the world, Colfer lives with his wife and two sons in Ireland. He thinks the best thing about having Artemis Fowl made into a movie is the idea of bringing his kids to see it. “Dads aren't very often cool people, but I think I might be cool for a couple of days if Artemis makes it onto the big screen.”

Biography

Eoin Colfer is a former elementary school teacher whose Artemis Fowl series has become an international bestseller. He is also the author of The Legend of Spud Murphy, The Wish List, and the New York Times bestseller The Supernaturalist.He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.

Author biography courtesy of Miramax Books/Hyperion Books for Children.

Good To Know

Some fun and fascinating outtakes from our interview with Colfer:

"My original ambition was to be a comic book artist. I would still love to write a comic one day."

"I have a real hatred of queues. If I see a queue of more than four people, I will leave the building and come back another day."

"I have four brothers and they are the inspiration for several of the sprites and gremlins in my books."

"I did a parachute jump recently and loved it. I would definitely take it up as a hobby if we had more clear sky over here in Ireland."

"I am a big theatre fan, and I go as often as possible with my wife. I actually started out in the theatre, writing plays for my actor friends."

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    1. Also Known As:
      William Eoin Colfer (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Wexford Town, County Wexford, Republic of Ireland
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 14, 1965
    2. Place of Birth:
      Waterford City, County Waterford, Republic of Ireland
    1. Education:
      Bachelor of Education, 1986; Education Diploma, 1987
    2. Website:

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2007

    A reviewer

    When a Irish boy finds out that his dad¿s job is threatened, he hears that they may be moving. After Benny wins a hurling final, he goes home to find out they are moving to Tunisia of all places. When Benny gets to Tunisia he meets a Tunisian boy named Omar, who speaks English from what he learned on tv, and soon they are best buds. Benny finds out Omar has no parents, but a sister who lives on a hospital farm. Benny wants to help Omar and Omar¿s sister Kaheena survive, because they are poor. This book is great because a Irish boy changed into a good and helpful person. It is also a funny and exciting book from the start. I liked this book because of how the boys communicated. Omar had learned English from what he had watched on tv. When they spoke to each other Benny had to talk tv to Omar. Omar picked up funny phrases like ¿ye eejit¿ and ¿bee gees¿ which meant brothers. When you read this book you pick up a lot of Tunisian words like ¿nam¿ which means ¿yes¿ and ¿mafi¿ which means ¿no¿. I liked this book because of how adventurous Benny and Omar were. The results were good and bad. Like the night Omar picks up Benny on his motorbike and they ride to a soccer stadium without being caught. I also liked that Benny helped Omar and Kaheena get away from the guards. I liked that they were able to survive for two days alone. I didn¿t like that it left you hanging. In the end we never knew what happened to Omar after being swept away in a flood. When Benny left the bus to help Omar we don¿t know what happened to the children on the bus after it was stopped in town. What does Benny do after Omar is gone? This is a funny, scary, and exciting book that you would never want to put down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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