Tag Archives: Humour

Truly Tan Shocked! – Jen Storer. Illustrated by Clare Robertson

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Harper Collins Australia

January 2021

  • ISBN: 9780733334146
  • ISBN 10: 0733334148
  • Imprint: ABC Books AU
  • List Price: 17.99 AUD

It has been ages since I’ve had the delight of reading a new Truly Tan book and the joy has not diminished one whit!

In this new adventure Tan and Gloria are most worried about their teacher, Miss Dragone, who has been acting most peculiarly: taking cooking classes to make delicious muffins, having her eyebrows and nails ‘done’, buying a fancy new bike – all kinds of weird stuff. Naturally, the determined spies are set on finding out exactly what is going on and confirming their suspicions that not all is well with their teacher.

Tan is also dealing with the very disquieting upcoming birth of a fifth Callahan sibling. She is not at all comfortable with losing her place as the youngest in the family, especially for yet another sister. As it is, the Lollipops (her older sisters) are all being as mental as ever and in fact, more so, as Emerald prepares for the starring role in the school production and deals with her first boyfriend break-up, Amber is seething with jealousy having only made the chorus of the show and Rose is wafting in and out of her home-made yurt reading everyone’s aura and communing with the bush fairies. And just to top it off, Tan feels that her 10th birthday – such a special occasion – will be completely overshadowed, indeed forgotten, in all the kerfuffle around her.

As usual, all is pretty chaotic really, yet Tan and Gloria press on with their investigation, with Tan’s diary entries (and the vivid description of which pen she is using) providing highlights of each stage. The explanations of unusual words at the conclusion of each chapter again provide readers with some bonus material.

Will Tan and Gloria uncover the truth about the Mystery of Miss Dragone? Will Tan get a special celebration for her birthday? And will she be able to cope with the arrival of Callahan #5?

All in all, absolutely great fun as always – these are ‘truly’ laugh-out-loud books that will appeal strongly to your independent readers.

Highly recommended for kiddos from around 8 years upwards.

Friday Barnes #9: No Escape – R. A. Spratt

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Penguin Australia

  • February 2021
  • ISBN: 9781760895761
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $15.99

R. A. Spratt (aka Rachel) said to me ‘NO spoilers’ when I mentioned I was about to review this new Friday Barnes instalment and given she is both fit and feisty albeit small, I am not about to quibble! So here’s my rather ‘different’ review ;-).

A) Friday is now the same age as The Kid – growing up indeed!

B) The Kid will be going on her first ever school camp this year as she commences Year 10 at her new school and I will be running full checks on any accompanying teachers – just saying.

C) We live with an Italian, and know others, and I have come to the conclusion that they are ALL crazy!

D) When I reviewed #8 in the series on this blog two years ago I commented that I almost had a full-scale riot in my library when I said it would (as I had been told) be the last in the series. Like me, my kiddos just love Friday so much – so they are going to go wild when this new one appears when school goes back.

As with the others in this series there is loads of action and double doses of laugh-out-loud humour as Friday continues to awkwardly navigate her way through confronting social and emotional situations without ever losing her brilliance and genius-level powers of deduction. I loved it, your kids will love it too. I strongly suggest buying multiple copies so put it on your orders list now!!!!

Thanks so much R. A. for bringing Friday back – you know how much we all love her – horrible brown cardigan, porkpie hat, quirky but smart and, above all, the kid you’d most want to have as your friend.

Check out the blurb here at Penguin – then I can’t be blamed for any spoilers!!

Highly recommended for readers from around mid-primary upwards.

Coffee and laughs at the Shingle Inn – memorable outing!!

The Time-travelling Caveman – Terry Pratchett

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Penguin Australia

September 2020

  • ISBN: 9780857536020
  • Imprint: Doubleday Childrens
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $32.99

Oh Sir Terry how much poorer are we for your departure! This is our final offering from the master and one which will set many young readers on a journey of discovery for more of his completely anarchic and often absurd writing.

Previously unpublished this collection of stories originate from Sir Terry’s early days as a junior reporter writing for his local papers and are little gems in their own right.

Over a dozen stories have been unearthed and polished up to delight and entertain readers with a short introductory preface providing insight.

A crazy neighbour’s home-made rocket ship and a trip to Mars, a talking horse, an invasion of Britain by the little know Tropnecian nation, the titular time-travelling caveman and more are all bound to keep your kiddos in fits of snort laughing.

Ably illustrated by Mark Beech (in a style reminiscent of Quentin Blake) this lovely hardback edition would make a very splendid and welcome gift for a young reader of your acquaintance – or indeed, a TP fan of any age.

Highly recommended for readers from around 7 years upwards.

Happy Halloween!

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We are preparing for a teen ‘Ween party here but I’ve been saving these titles for today so here we go!

Peppa Pig: Peppa’s Spooky Halloween

Penguin Australia

  • September 2020
  • ISBN: 9780241412268
  • Imprint: Ladybird
  • RRP: $14.99

Peppa and her Pig famiy continue to be firm favourites with little ones and this one will delight them as the Pigs prepare for a fun-filled Halloween.

Peppa and George are at Granny and Grandpa’s house and they are ready for some spookiness and luckily, their grandparents are fully in favour.

There is a flurry of baking yummy treats and decorations are dragged out of the attic – luckily Grandpa and Granny have collected quite a lot of Halloween accessories over the years. Soon both the house and yard are suitably creepy.

Next it’s time to raid the dressing-up box and all four costume themselves ready for a Spooky Show. When Mummy and Daddy Pig arrive they will be very surprised!

This is not only great fun for little ones at this time of year but a lovely warm story about the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren.

Your Peppa fans will love it of course!

There’s Something Weird About Lena

Sigi Cohen. Illustrated by James Foley.

Walker Books Australia

October 2020

ISBN: 9781760651503
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
Australian RRP: $25.99
New Zealand RRP: $28.99

For all who loved My Dead Bunny (that was everyone wasn’t it?) here’s another rollicking and hilarious creepy story.

With fabulous rhyming text that begs to be read aloud accompanied by the atmospheric illustrations, your kiddos will want this one over and over again.

Lena is the new kid at school and she’s really WEIRD. She cackles and howls, she shrieks and moans and she’s really not very nice. When her friends decide to prank her by dressing up spookily they are in for quite a shock – Lena is definitely not your average girl!

The fun use of onomatopoeia will simply delight – and your kiddos will be howling along with the reading – in fact, quite likely some adults will as well.

It’s a must – it really is! If your budget is all dried up by now, make sure you put it on your list for next year – you won’t be sorry!

Zombierella: Fairy Tales Gone Bad – Joseph Coelho. Illustrated by Freya Hartas.

Walker Books Australia

September 2020

ISBN: 9781406389661
Imprint: Walker
Australia RRP: $18.99
New Zealand RRP: $21.99

One for your older readers and the first in a three-part series that twists classic stories into very entertaining verse, this is perfect for your kiddos from around 9 years upwards up into Year 7.

With enough of the original story to be familiar but the delightfully gruesome twists – I mean who wouldn’t be far more thrilled with a zombie Cinderella than the insipid Disney version? – kids will gobble this up with much laughter. Trust me, when they get to the climax and instead of losing a glass (or fur) slipper, Zombierella loses her entire foot – they will explode!

Huge fun for readers from Year 4 upwards and I await the next two instalments eagerly, as they will as well.

Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

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Allen & Unwin

October 2020

ISBN:9781760526214

Publisher:A&U Children’s

Imprint:A & U Children

RRP: $19.99

This is my first encounter with Dash and Lily – and I’m in love with them! As it happens I had put this title on our orders list because I liked the sound of it so much – and as it happens, with a Netflix adaptation on its way – I was pretty confident my keen beans would also enjoy it.

Now I can’t wait to talk it up at our ChocLit meeting this week because I know for sure they will love it!! It may sound cliched but I make no apologies for that – this is exactly the kind of ‘witty and sparkling’ writing that thrills me. I gobbled it up over a couple of nights and it was just pure joy to read.

Dash and Lily have been a couple for around two years and now they are finished school, their lives are changing. Dash is accepted to Oxford – his life-long dream – and while Lily knows she will miss him terribly she in no way wants to hold him back. On the other hand, she is floundering somewhat with her options. Her dog-walking business, Insta following and dog ‘crafting’ skills are really taking off and she is very determined not to follow the generations of women in her family in attending Barnard College. When Dash decides to stay in England for Christmas, Lily splurges on a trip to surprise him (her doggy entrepreneurship is REALLY successful!) in what she sees as a truly romantic gesture. But as many of us know, sometimes romantic gestures do not realise themselves in quite the same way as we have imagined them.

There are moments of real disconnection and none of it is helped by both young people doubting their choices around their chosen paths. However, as both are super intelligent and emotionally aware, they are able to work out not only their relationship but their futures.

There is so much to love about this book! Firstly, I adore that while it outlines completely relatable problems there is none of the intense teeth-gnashing, maudlin introspection and egocentric thinking that seems to pervade so many YA novels. There is a lot of humour – and I particularly love the ‘punny’ expressions throughout – and these two as well as secondary characters are genuinely likeable. I also really appreciate that while the couple do have a physical relationship there is nothing overt that could cause problems with your younger readership and similarly, there is no swearing!

Your readers from around Year 7 are likely to connect with these two as much as I have and I highly recommend it for your astute readers who will fully appreciate the humour, the dilemmas and the joy of the narrative.

Go for Gold! (Pea and Nut #2) – Matt Stanton

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Harper Collins Australia

August 2020

  • ISBN: 9780733340680
  • ISBN 10: 0733340687
  • Imprint: ABC Books – AU
  • List Price: 17.99 AUD

The second in the Pea + Nut series is another rowdy rambunctious read that will have your kiddos in fits of laughter and with swimming season upon us there will no doubt be many connections made.

Pea the panda really just wants to relax by the pool, in her own inimitable way but Nut the wacky flamingo is determined to have a race.

With the hilarious elastic rules with which so many children will relate the pair are off with fiercely competitive attitude. These two are complete oddballs and their antics will surely delight any of your younger readers.

If you haven’t got onto these yet you should, your tinies from around four years upwards will just love them…..

And congratulations Matt & Bec, you talented pair, on the arrival of the new little princess!

Kitty is not a Cat – Jess Black/Bogan Entertainment Solutions

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Hachette

Lights Out

JUL 28, 2020 | 9780734419750 | RRP $9.99

Teddy’s Bear

JUL 28, 2020 | 9780734419774 | RRP $9.99

I no longer have a little person to watch such shows but by all accounts Kitty is not a Cat is a hugely successful animated series. A rather motley clowder of cats live together in a ramshackle old mansion, left to them by an eccentric benefactress. Their free-spirited antics ensure that life is always a party where anything goes but when there is an unexpected knock at the door one night and Kitty arrives, their wild ways are in for a disruption. Kitty is not a cat but she wants to be one and though the cats try very hard to re-home her it seems she is going to be a permanent fixture.

Now fans of the show can read about their favourite glaring of cats – and one non-cat – in a delightful new junior reader series written by Jess Black.

When Kitty’s night light mysteriously disappears her sleep is very much disturbed and of course, in turn, the cat’s routine TV viewing of their favourite Purr-anormal programs. Of course cats are not familiar with the concept of being afraid of the dark but they do their very best to sort Kitty’s problem with some very creative, though not necessarily, successful solutions. Finally Kitty’s night fright is sorted – and so is the mystery of the disappearing night light!

The cat gang decide that Kitty needs a new toy for the coming winter months and what could be better than a cuddly teddy bear? The problem is that the felines are really not across exactly what a teddy bear is so once more hilarity ensues as each attempts to satisfy the issue. Cheeta thinks he’s solved the problem when he brings home a real-life grizzly bear and for a while it seems that rather than being gobbled up they can all have some fun together. But when the bear starts his hibernation the original problem is still – well, a problem Luckily Mr Clean has saved the day with his ingenuity – and love.

This is just fabulous on a lot of levels – full of great humour, unconditional love and the certainty that one can be anything one wants – even a cat!!

Goes without saying that it appeals to us – being pretty much solid cat people – but I highly recommend it for your newly independent readers who will love being able to make connections between the show and the books.

League of Llamas [#3 and #4] – Aleesah Darlison

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Penguin Random House Australia

July 2020

Aleesah Darlison continues her hilarious new series with these two new episodes in the adventures of Phillipe, Lloyd and Elloise, those daring LOL agents who are afraid of nothing – well almost nothing. Kids love the antics of rather hapless Philippe and Lloyd who are generally getting themselves into dangerous scrapes with narrow escapes – usually saved from complete disaster by the help of Elloise, g-llama-rous and efficient daughter of Head of LOL, Mama Llama. Packed with action as well as very funny wordplay these have already proven to be a big hit with junior readers who will be very excited about the new missions coming their way.

Undercover Llama #3

  • ISBN: 9781760894191
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $9.99

A disastrous and almost deadly failed mission to recover missing secret files from some not-so-featherbrained chickens has done nothing to enhance Phillipe’s cred with Mama Llama and he’s getting close to being de-activated as an agent. In fact, if not for the support of the lovely Elloise defending him it’s likely he might not have been given a reprieve. Now the trio are going undercover and not just any ordinary kind of investigation either. They are going to pose as band members of world famous pop star, Bruno Llamars!

On tour in Chickenlovakia the agents find themselves once again embroiled with the rogue chickens but there also appears to some monkey business involving Bruno’s manager, Wally Chimpopo.

Can they salvage their reputations and recover the missing files? Only time will tell and in the meantime they must sort out the bad eggs from the good ones.

Rogue Llama #4

  • ISBN: 9781760894207
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $9.99

As if Philippe doesn’t have enough trouble keeping out of strife, he’s dropped well and truly in the llama doo-doo when he follows an unreliable rat informant and is framed for a crime he didn’t commit. When Mama Llama demands he turn in his badge, Phillipe is determined to clear his name. So it’s off to hunt down the rat who ratted him out, first to Ratopia and then to the last place one would look for a rat, good or bad, Catagonia. Surviving on his wits alone – never a good move really – Philippe finds himself in a tight place but luckily his friends Lloyd and Elloise haven’t yet given up on him and their timely intervention saves the day. Once again the trio are on the trail of that smelly badger Bottomburp, mastermind of criminal mischief and parp-er of extraordinary vileness.

And with a little bit of luck and the surprising but useful intervention of a very cranky whale, Phillipe is able to redeem himself and once again take up his place as LOL’s leading and best-looking llama.

So much fun to be had with these! Don’t forget to check out Aleesah’s page for some llamazing activities as well – your kiddos would love to have a whole llama-filled book party!

Highly recommended for young readers from around six years upwards.

Funny Kid Peeking Duck [Funny Kid #7] – Matt Stanton

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Harper Collins Australia

April 2020

  • ISBN: 9780733340598
  • ISBN 10: 0733340598
  • Imprint: ABC Books – AU
  • List Price: 14.99 AUD

Matt Stanton’s Max has become one of the most popular characters in Australian kids’ lit in recent years – with the first debuting at #1 Australian kids’ book in 2017. The Funny Kid continues to garner enthusiastic fans not only in Australia but now around the world.

The antics of this boy, along with his family and friends, and not forgetting Duck, are like the most hilarious comic strip ever in novel format and while the illustrations are highly amusing too, it is the wit and humour of the text that provide the biggest belly laughs.

Poor Max finds himself caught up in a dare predicament with his friends after somewhat snarky Abby calls him out on being afraid of heights. Suddenly there’s pressure to ride the Tower of Dying Deathly Doom, the scariest ride at Adventure Park to be witnessed by all the gang. Max’ plan to go to Adventure Park solo – well, with Duck of course – and just pretend he’s ridden the ride backfires badly and when his parents (typically) mis-read his actions as running away due to their preoccupation, the whole dare escalates to new heights (so to speak). A hellish road trip with all his friends, Duck gone missing and an encounter with Bad Skulls, the dancing motorcycle gang combine to provide the reader with another side-splitting episode in the life of Max the Funny Kid.

There will be plenty of snort-laughs in this one and any copy on your shelves is guaranteed to be on high-rotation with your readers. In fact, probably best to have back-up copies in my opinion to avoid scrimmages as they are coming back through returns.

Highly recommended for your kids who like a good laugh-out-loud read – don’t they all? – suitable for all from around 8 years upwards.

 

 

 

This is a Ball and Other Books that Drive Kids Crazy – Beck & Matt Stanton

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Harper Collins Australia

May 2020

  • ISBN: 9780733341076
  • ISBN 10: 0733341071
  • Imprint: ABC Books – AU
  • List Price: 35.00 AUD

In recent years when I have filled in between gigs doing some relief teaching at least a couple of the ‘books that drive kids crazy’ were in my bag to use particularly as a ‘warm up’ and without fail they were such a hit with the audience that the kiddos were putty in my hands, especially with the promise of another later in the day.

It would be hard to pick a favourite but I can say unequivocally that Did You Take the B from my -ook?  would reduce my listeners to paroxysms of laughter as they joined in, almost howling.

Now readers can enjoy the hysteria of five of these super titles in one volume and if I were still doing that occasional relief teaching this would definitely be staying on my shelves.

Whether  you are adding this to your school collection or your personal one, or perhaps as a gift to a little human of your acquaintance this will be such a welcome relief and opportunity for some superlative light relief.

Highly recommended for small to medium humans from around 3 years upwards.