See, I associate Charlie Higson’s name with Young Bond, thrilling spy adventures, evil villains – you know the sort of thing so this absolutely hilarious book took me completely by surprise.
Stan is the only child of pretty ordinary parents and lives in a pretty ordinary suburban house and, in fact, lives a pretty ordinary life. He’s not what you would call an extrovert – or confident – or actually, not very interesting and certainly not brave, but he is a nice kid. So when he is invited to go with a school friend, Felix and his family on a holiday to Italy, he finds himself packed and at the airport with Felix’ uncle and aunt, whom he’s never met, going to a foreign country to stay with an entire villa full of strangers with only Felix – and a very tenuous friendship to bolster himself.
Stan’s list of things that could go wrong on the holiday is even funnier than the one his mum gives him ‘in case of emergency’ and readers will be continually amused throughout as Stan’s lists are added to – but also subtracted from – as he encounters new experiences from food to girls, from moody or just downright batty adults to haughty Italians.
While he is away Stan’s dad takes ill, which causes him great anxiety, but at the same time, as he observes the interactions of the families in the villa with acute perception, he develops a greater understanding of what he’s always taken to be his father’s dissatisfaction with his only son. As the holiday progresses and Stan’s small steps towards confidence increase, so does his insight into what family means and that sometimes, being anxious is OK and being even just a little brave can take you a long way.
I find it quite difficult at times to find humorous novels that will be enjoyed by lower secondary as much as primary children but I think this one might just fit the bill. I’m certainly going to give it a red-hot go with some of my Year 7s – especially some of the more reluctant readers.
Highly recommended for kiddos from around 10 years upwards – especially those who like a good laugh-out-loud read.
Well as if there isn’t always enough going on for the Heffleys on a regular day-to-day basis their holiday plans go completely awry and full on pandemonium ensues!
The Heffley parentals have decided that they are going to completely avoid the stress of the approaching festive season along with the miserable weather and book a special family trip. Their choice is the same resort at which they spent their honeymoon and of which they have such fond memories. But as we know things never run smoothly for this family and from lost luggage to invasive giant spiders to sunburn this was never going to be the stuff of which dreams are made.
And as usual from Greg’s point of view, he is the most put upon out of the entire family. While his folks can escape and big brother Rodrick dodges any form of restriction, Greg is left holding the baby so to speak and spends more time chasing little Manny than enjoying any kind of resort action.
The format of this series never grows tired and this one has already been snapped up by one of my eager readers. Those who want a light read and lots of laughs will get much enjoyment from it.
Highly recommended for readers from around eight years upwards.
ISBN 9781921977787 Imprint: Walker Books Australia
October 1, 2016
Australian RRP: $24.99 New Zealand RRP: $27.99
This is another one that had slipped through the cracks and shouldn’t have! It’s a really fabulous read aloud that will have little ones bouncing in their seats and joining in the choruses.
With lots of rhyming and onomatopoeia it is perfect for those beginning to read crowds to switch on their aural perception.
As well as all of that kids who get to go camping will be able to connect and offer up their own experiences, while those who don’t will surely be able to discuss what they would most like about a camping trip.
Cat Chapman’s illustrations are lovely – lots of details and humour abound in each spread.
This author and illustrator pair is from New Zealand, with Sally Sutton being a best seller and award winner.
Can’t go wrong with this as we look forward to warmer weather and the next holidays in September – perfect camping time!