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Archive for the ‘Humorous Stories’ Category

The World’s Worst Pets by David Walliams, illus. Adam Stower. Pub. HarperCollins, 2022

May 16, 2022 Comments off

What can I add about David Walliams’ writing that hasn’t been written before except that it is superlative and he has done more to get reluctant kids into reading since J.K Rowling, Paul Jennings and R.L Stine.

This is a book of ten short stories about pets that have gone feral or are locked into a rivalry with another pet that is a catastrophe for the owners. Walliams also knows that kids like burps and farts and there is a knew noise a furp which is a combination of the two.

There is a story about the rivalry between cats and dogs in a musical context, why is there a musical about Cats and not Dogs but it can’t beat the battle for cuteness between a hampster and a gerbil. There is a bunny story, Picasso the horse, a silly snake, a grizzlie bear a supersonic tortoise, a furping goldfish and my favourite the burgling budgie which has a Dickensian theme to it. Loved Magwitch the one eyed magpie.

Adam Stower with his coloured illustrations enhances the characters and the humour.

You can’t go wrong with this novel for kids and I am hoping that David will come up with a book about the Worlds worst politicians. There are plenty in the World today.

Masher by Fifi Colston. Pub. Puffin, 2022.

May 6, 2022 Comments off

This is literally a shaggy dog story for intermediate and junior readers and it is very funny. Reluctant boy readers in particular will love it and it would be a good story to read aloud to a junior class.

Freddy Foxworthy is an arty boy and he is daring. His father is a builder and his sister is flirting with the metal head a couple of house along from his. His name is Axl and he has a vicious Staffordshire bull terrier called Masher.

Freddy is inspired by a teacher to make a puppet made of paper mache but he struggles because it is too soft, so he mixes up a concoction of flour water and sugar to bind the paper mache together. Masher eats it all and dies. he is cremated and his ashes are left by the gate to Axl’s house.

In a comedy of errors Freddy kicks the ashes over, conceals the spilt ashes in a pie bag takes them home and mixes them in the flour mixture to stiffen up the paper mache, and uses it to complete the puppet.

The hand puppet morphs and comes alive as Masher and the action starts. Read it and see what happens. Freddy is a good role model. He is intelligent, imaginative and has good people skills, but will he survive a paper mache dog with all the appetites and qualities of the real thing.

There are lessons in how to form a business and how to do a puppet show as well as the crazy action that surrounds a talking dog puppet. Easy to read with great imagination.

The 13-Storey Treehouse (Full Colour Edition) by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton. Pub. MacMillan Publishers NZ, 2021

November 18, 2021 Comments off

This is the novel that started the crazy treehouse stories, the most recent one is reviewed elsewhere on this blog. This is a copy worth getting and keeping because of the colour and hardback cover and in 50 years time it will probably be worth big dollars.

It introduces Andy and Terry ( the writer and illustrator of course) and their living quarters in a 13-storey treehouse with a theatre and library, a bowling alley, a man-eating shark tank and a giant catapult amongst other things.

Andy & Terry are under pressure from Big Nose to finish a book and this is the series of preposterous stories that make up this book.

It starts with Terry painting a cat yellow and it turning into a canary and flying away then it graduates into Barky the barking dog show. Don’t barking dogs drive you Mad? Then comes the best story in the book when Terry gets a packet of sea-monkey eggs, germinates them in a bowl of water and one of them turns into a mermaid and eats all the other eggs.

Terry falls in love with the mermaid but there is danger ahead. Read it and find out what happens. All the story threads join up at the end to make a satisfying read.

The stories are designed to attract reluctant readers and their craziness will certainly bring them to the reading table. This is an 8 out of ten book for enjoyability and I am going to keep my copy.

As always Terry Denton provides the illustrations to Andy Griffiths’ crazy text. Don’t miss it.

The 143-Storey treehouse by Andy Griffith, Illus. Terry Denton. Pub. Pan Macmillan, 2021

November 9, 2021 Comments off

If you have never read one of these treehouse books then it is about time you did. They started with a 13 Storey treehouse and this one adds 13 more storeys than the last one and is just as addictive and crazy as the others.

Tery Denton who does the illustrations and Andy Griffiths are a well oiled machine, they know what appeals to reluctant boy readers and they know how boy conversations can drift into all sorts of areas that defy logic. They are fun and absurdity at the same time

The extra 13 storeys include a word-o-matic which knows every word in the world but gets stuck on every scrabble players dream word-Quezjex. Is it a word? if so what is it? read the book and find out. Other storeys include a too Hard basket and a SUPER BIG STUFF storey. Watch Andy get cut in half by a chainsaw then get stapled back together by a superbig stapler.

Andy and terry and friends go on an old fashioned picnic and meet a fire-breathing dragon amongst others and even sup on a fish milkshake. The craziness is boundless and the illustrations just enhance the loonacy.

A great Xmas present for the reluctant reader especially boys.

Partners in Slime by Belinda O’Keefe. Pub. Scholastic 2021.

May 25, 2021 Comments off

Thirteen year old Jake and his mate Cooper want to ride on a new roller coaster called the Steel Beast which is to open in 38 days time. Unfortunately they have no money and the beast is going to cost over $100.00 each to ride on.

Jake gets an idea to make money from his younger sister Paige who is a real handful for Jake to handle and she seems to have the ear of her parents. The idea is to make slime and sell it to the kids at school who Jake believes are gagging for it.

With the help of a web page and input from Coopers scientific uncle Ivor the boys make a very desirable product and it sells like hotcakes. The sister Paige and her girlie friends come up with a better product that smells of food product and the boys have been usurped.

What are they to do next? The answer is off this planet and the results hilarious. Will the boys get near the Steel Beast? Read it and see what happens.

The best part of this story is the business venture. How do you start a business from scratch? Once you have a product how do you market it? What do you do about competition?

A great read-a- loud for junior and intermediate readers with high boy appeal.

Space Detectives by Mark Powers, illus. Dapo Adeola. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2021.

April 8, 2021 Comments off

This is a short easy to read chapter book for newly confidant readers and reluctant boy readers. It is introductory Sc/Fi with a load of laughs and lots of weird creatures.

Ten year old Ethan and Mark are good friends and they run an ice cream parlour on the manmade planet of Starville. It is a glass bubble in space with all the elements of Planet Earth except that it is populated by both humans and creatures from other planets.

Both boys are detectives and want to start an agency up on Starville but there is a lack of work. The boys witness a crime in which a Tufted Grotsnobbler from Venus steals the handbag off the daughter of the Supreme Governor of Starville. They attempt to get the handbag back and are invited to a party at the Governors house for their efforts.

Then things get worse as Starvillians learn that their planet is heading for a collision with the moon. Can Ethan and Mark find out who is behind this dastardly scheme? Read it and find out.

Code Name Bananas by David Walliams, illus. by Tony Ross. Pub. HarperCollins, 2020.

November 19, 2020 Comments off

Another great novel of madness, mayhem, laughter and fun from the man the Telegraph have said “Dahl finally has a worthy successor“. No wonder children love it. Just in time for Xmas. Parents should take a look too.

Eric is an 11 year old boy with sticking out ears and glasses who stays with his grandma. He is an orphan and it is about to get worse. His main love is visiting the zoo in Regents Park London where he has developed a friendship with Gertrude the gorilla.

He is also friends with zookeeper Uncle Sid who has tin legs because his real ones were blown off in WW1. Sid has sticking out ears too but is as kind as a person can get especially to animals.

Every night the German bombers fly over London blowing smithereens out of the city during the Blitz in WW2. The animals are terrified but Corporal Batter with his rifle and Sir Frederick Frown with his pompous upper class manners are both ready to eliminate any animal that escapes or proves a problem. Gertrude is seen as a problem and set down to be put down by the nasty Miss Gnarl and her long needle.

Eric and Sid plot to release Gertrude and what an adventure it proves to be. Read it and find out what happens. but first read the ten possible plots of how to effect the escape.

Hilariously funny with lots of true history about WW2.

The Silver Arrow by Lev Grossman.

July 14, 2020 Comments off

silver arrowThe Silver Arrow by Lev Grossman. Pub. Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2020.

September release.

This is superb storytelling for primary and intermediate readers. It is fantasy/adventure with a message for the modern world about endangered animals who are just trying to survive in a World that has lost it’s balance.

Eleven year old Kate and her nine year old brother Tom have never met their uncle Herbert. Their mother never mentions him but she did say that he was very rich and totally irresponsible. It is Kate’s birthday in a few days so she writes to her uncle Herbert and suggests he buy her a birthday present. Very brazen I thought.

On her birthday a flat decked truck pulls up with 102.36 ton steam train on it and it is put on some railway lines in Tom and Kate’s backyard. Uncle Herbert says it is for their enjoyment. Kate’s parents are not amused and use words that should never appear in a children’s book(they don’t in this book).

The children are sent to their bedrooms but in the night the train starts up, the children get on board and the train hurtles off into the night. At the first station a whole lot of animals get on board , they have been waiting ages for the train to come among them is a porcupine, a fishing cat and other endangered animals.

That’s all I am going to tell you you will have to read it to find out but it is thrilling. This is easy to read and would be a great read-a loud. The ending will have you on tenterhooks. The good thing is that Kate and Tom make mistakes, face responsibility and never give up sometimes in dire circumstances.

Wayside School. Beneath the Cloud of Doom by Louis Sachar, illus. Tim Heitz.

April 17, 2020 Comments off

wayside schoolWayside School. Beneath the Cloud of Doom by Louis Sachar, illus. Tim Heitz. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2020.

This short, easy to reader novel for primary and intermediate kids is crazy from the first to the last page. It is funny, it is serious, it is absurd, it is honest and it is always entertaining.

Wayside School is in a 30 story building. The headmaster is wacky, the teachers are eccentric and the pupils have every quirk and difference that society can muster. Still they get on well together with a lot of tolerance of each others behaviour.

Mrs Jewls class want to know what a million looks like so they start collecting toe and fingernails in an attempt to get a million. Will they do it? Then a large dark cloud they call the Cloud of Doom settles over the school and doesn’t move.

The cloud affects everybody’s behaviour and culminates on the day that the Ultimate school test finishes. Totally bizarre but very entertaining.

Tim Heitz’s illustrations help you picture the characters and the action.

Fabio. The World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective: Peril at Lizard Lake.

April 15, 2020 Comments off

flamingoFabio. The World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective: Peril at Lizard Lake. Pub. Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2020.

Fabio and his sidekick giraffe Gilbert are back on the pink lemonade again and out to solve the reason why the water has dried up in a small village beside Lake Laloozee.

There is a smooth talking Lioness called Molly who owns the local garage, a furtive armadillo called Arthur and a sinister scorpion called Mungo to contend with.

A bottling company selling water with a heart shape logo has set up. Are the two events linked? See how Fabio uses his silky detective skills to solve this one.

Other Fabio books are reviewed elsewhere on this blog.

Superbly and simply illustrated and written story often on pink pages. For newly confident readers of primary age and less confident readers of intermediate age. Great humour and values