The Holey’s in the wall by Helen Ryan

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Hellllllllo readers, hope you’re well. I’m thinking of starting a monthly wrap up but because I review every book  I read I wonder whether it’s a bit repetitive. Saying that, I read and reviewed thirteen books in June, honestly how is that possible? Was I not sleeping? But it’s fair to say it’s been a good month in terms of reading and I intend mightily to keep it up. Today’s book is from the wonderful Helen Ryan who wrote the brilliant McSorely’s evil tea, which I adored. So here is my review of her second book and another great little read.


Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! KABOOM!

Bo had never heard anything like it before. Red and white dust was everywhere and big bits of the Wall crumbled away.

‘Holey terror!’ shouted Mr Buzz in Bo’s left ear. ‘Take cover!’

What would you do if your world was falling apart? Run, hide or try and save the day? The Holeys all live in a gigantic stone wall that is beginning to crumble and fall. They are frightened if the Wall falls what will become of their home?

Bo is the youngest Holey. He is asked to go where no Holey has gone before, beyond the Wall. He must seek the mysterious Builder who the Holeys believe will save them. Bo discovers there is more to life than the Wall that houses them all.

But what happens if Holeys don’t follow the rules?

Well everyone follows the rules. Don’t they?

So the book follows the Holey’s who you may have guessed are covered in holes; four holes to be precise. One hole in the top of the head which houses the little people and one in the chest which holds acres of crops and orchard. The third hole is full of many animals roaming around it (this one is in the Holey’s belly button) and the final hole houses the weather and it’s in the back of the Holey. Got that? The Holey’s are giants if you were wondering and their job is to hold up the wall. One day it begins to crumble, and terrified for their future they send Bo to go and discover what is past the wall.

So, I really enjoyed the ‘oddness’ of this story. The Holey’s I thought are really interesting characters, and the idea that they are covered in holes that house different parts that make up the world is something quite fantastical and original. The book is a lot shorter than the first but I think it works because the age range is slightly younger I think for this book. I thought the idea of Bo discovering the sun and the moon was intriguing and trying to picture how the wall was constructed and the giants will get younger readers really intrigued into the life of the Holeys. I also thought the little people especially Sonny who has a terribly large appetite will raise a few giggles, with the writing being a little disgusting but children adore that kind of thing so it’s a thumbs up from me.

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The writing style is terribly quirky in much more pronounced way which I think works better here because it is a shorter piece of writing as I think it could get over-the-top but Helen manages it well and I can see the similarities between the two books. As the Holey’s have never been past the wall before there are many different things they have never experiences and I liked the repetition of this with the wording ‘You won’t believe this but Holeys don’t know what a keyhole is!’ Children often need something as like this to tie it all together and repetition is always a bonus so I thought that was a clever way to tie everything in. I also really liked, what I think is the interweaving almost of the creation story, (I hope I’ve got this right,) but as the story continues and Bo learns more and more about the world we experience almost the seven days of creation especially which is then all collated at the end. I thought it was clever and an original story-line that toyed with this.

My only complaint would be a little more description on the whole. I really think although the writing moved with pace to get so much in although only a short novel more could have been pushed in about the holey’s physical appearance and the description of the wall because at times I found it difficult to picture it all in my head but it’s a minor quibble. Overall this is a tale of discovery, fantasy and another great book from Helen Ryan, I may have enjoyed McSorely’s a little more but this is still a really wonderful tale.






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