At First Sight: Danny Griggs has always been afraid of pretty much everything in his life - from the possible monster under his bed or the shadows under the door; to calling a classmate and them not remembering who he is - so he's more surprised than anyone when he volunteers to retrieve a special soccer ball that went down the mythical Gully at the edge of St. Raphael's playground.
In the Gully, everyone knows, there is a Gorgon - a gruesome monster that hoards and keeps everything that goes into it's territory.
Danny would really like to take back his words but he knows he can't or he'll be forever more known as a coward! Instead -and after consulting with his older brother Jonah - Danny starts to device a plan to go down the Gully and retrieve the soccer ball (which his team needs to win the big finals!), a plan that starts simple enough, involving his friends Jackson and Bella, and soon expands to include Simmo - the playground's bully - and pretty much everyone else in Year 4.
Second Glance: I have no shame in confessing that I first wanted to read this book because Danny is Jonah Griggs' younger brother and that I knew that there was some Jonah in the story. But in the end, Danny and The Gorgon in the Gully won me over on their own.
Danny is just such a sweet kid: he loves everyone in his family, even his Mom's boyfriend; he is loyal to his friends and all he wants is to get some play time in the soccer finals; and he's resourceful and tries to do the right thing, and even when he doesn't he tries to make it right.
I also loved the secondary characters. In a very simple way, all type of elementary school cliques were displayed but in such a way that I was like "Yup, that's what elementary school is like!" and I never felt like they were cartoonish, even though the book is pretty short.
Bottom Line: The Gorgon in the Gully was such a lovely read, even if you're not a kid, it will totally bring you back to those days where everything was both complex and pretty simple at the same time. It's sweet story, and I was a nice message - though it's not heavy handed - about what courage and friendship mean.