MEET ASH THE FLASH
Review by Veronica Blake Carnegie
Ash the FLASH
Hazel D. Campbell & Nattalie Gordon
Sand Pebbles Pleasure Series
Carlong Publishers. 2014
Hazel Campbell, veteran writer of children’s stories and one of her past students, Nattalie Gordon, have come out flashing with a Jamaican superboy whose superman hero is none other than Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the real world.
The writers inspiration is not a comic book hero dressed in red and blue cloak, floating over sky-scrapers and bridges but a hero; decked in T-shirt and shorts and track shoes on seemingly flying feet that race on the ground and who wins gold medals for himself and his country.
This action packed fantasy features boys, Ashton and Kenroi, their all-male team and coaches, fathers, uncles, male teachers, watchmen, and grounds-men.
The protagonist is a primary school boy, Ashton Longmore, who, with his best friend Kenroi Donaldson, get into big trouble when they disobey orders. Left for a brief while in Uncle Norman’s old lab, despite a warning not to touch anything, they begin to investigate its contents. Ashton opens a suspicious looking bottle with a fragrant, green potion and, as if in a trance, drinks its mysterious contents. In shock, Kenroi is witness to the instant transformation of Ashton who shoots out of the lab like a bolt of lightning.
Eventually, Kenroi and Uncle Norman, catch up with him. Uncle Norman, who is a very absent-minded scientist, explains that the potion was the result of experiments he had carried out on the Trelawny yams that people were saying caused Usain Bolt to run so fast. He had forgotten about the bottle and it seems that the potion had strengthened with age and that was why Ashton could run so fast. But he begs the boys not to tell anybody as it would mean trouble for him. He now plans to try to find the antidote.
But the boys are elated. Ashton's speed now means they can challenge the rival school in athletics and win. A side effect of the potion is Ashton's ability to belch for a long time. Ashton and Kenroi get up to all sorts of antics as they try to capitalize on his spectacular speed. But the long belches are herald to a complication they didn't expect. If the effects of the potion wear off, can Ashton still win the crucial final race at the county games?
His school is depending on him to lift the trophy. As the story progresses, they find out that the rival school's star runner had been unbeatable because his father had been giving him drugs. In the end, an exciting 100 metre race is the spectacular climax of the rivalry.
Ashton's speed, publicized by the news media earns him the nickname Ash the Flash.
Few girls appear in this story. Two of them, as passersby, watch Ashton run and are intrigued by his spectacular speed. Kenroi chases them away. The girls classify both boys as ‘weirdos’ and giggling, point out how Ashton’s ‘foot-dem favour mosquito foot’.
Raquel and Nichole are in the boys' sixth grade class. Raquel is Ashton’s special ‘girl-friend’ and Nichole is the prim and proper tell-tale-tit who runs and reports the boys to the Principal and cause the break-up of a well-planned Belching Contest.
This is a really fast moving, action-filled, often humorous boys’ story. Something exciting happens on each of the101 pages of this book. Can we hope to see this compelling story on the big screen in the future?
Christmas is coming. Get a copy for your son, nephew, etc. Girls will like this story ,too