Book Reviews: Fun, Scary and a Little Bit Gross

Thought this was a Halloween post? Maybe, maybe not. Halloween is such a fun time of the year, isn’t it? Our Aussie children’s writers so cleverly tap into this market, whether their books are ‘Halloween-y’ or not. Anyway, here’s a playful post with a couple of fun, scary (or not) and a little bit gross books your kids are sure to love, any time of the year!

Revenge of the Beans (Fart Club #1), Adam Wallace (author), James Hart (illus.), Scholastic, July 2022, ISBN: 9781760979218.

OMG! What a hoot, or a toot, rather! Kids from seven plus are sure to ‘crack’ up at the array of bum and fart jokes on offer in Revenge of the Beans in the new FART CLUB series – following the success of FART BOY. If you know funny man and best-selling author, Adam Wallace, you’ll know his vast range of children’s books always induce a raucous amongst readers, whether a little bit silly, or somewhat gruesome, or just plain old COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS! So, paired up with the inexhaustibly fierce illustrations by James Hart, this graphic comic-style novel is busting with bright colours, fun text types and formats and totally hilarious puns, dialogue and narration.

You see, aliens are planning to invade Earth by aligning the crack in Uranus with the crack in Earth, in order to open up a portal. But (not butt), the super pongy kids; that is, the Fart Club, are on the case. There’s a neat profile on each character so you can get to know them (really) well. They’re all ‘Super-Farters’ on a mission to save Sparkle City… and the entire world from the alien beans. With plenty of ‘butt-belching’, ‘stench-smashing’ and ‘butt blasts’ aplenty, the comedic action will keep readers on their toes (or on the nose) until the very end… but is it really the end? Keep your smells out for Book 2!

Wacky, deliciously gross, and oh-so-much fun for junior readers, Revenge of the Beans sounds like it might be on repeat in your household (which is actually a good thing!). The power of teamwork always triumphs in the end!

Miss Understood, Kathryn Apel (author), Beau Wylie (illus.), Scholastic, May 2022, ISBN: 9781760978310.

The Big Bad Wolf is scary, right?! Wrong! Really?! Perhaps she’s just… misunderstood. In this funny fractured fairy tale, we find out the REAL reasons about why the wolf huffed and puffed (and sneezed, and fell) and how the pigs’ houses were blown down. How did the wolf get such a ‘bad’ rep? Could it be all the porky pies those pigs spread to all the fairy tale folk?

This perfectly imperfect character gives us another point of view to ponder. Kathryn Apel’s rhyme, humorous puns and homophones are just so masterfully brilliant. She has incorporated our well-known ‘wolfish’ fairy tale stories into one with twists and turns that are so disastrously delightful – we have complete empathy for poor old, hayfeverish, ‘innocent’ Wolf. The illustrations by Beau Wylie are spectacular! Just the embossed cover with its sweet-natured wolf vs over-arching shadow kept me entranced for ages, let alone the cute endpapers and oil paint-inspired digital artwork amplified with energy, bursts of teal and pink, and humour absolutely ‘blown out’ of proportion! The words and illustrations together are delicious enough to ‘wolf down’ in one, or more, sittings! Definitely more sittings, please!

Miss Understood crosses the path of where we thought this fairy tale would go; creating wonder and plenty of visual delights for children from age four to think, and giggle, about. Piggishly, but understandably, this romping book will want to be devoured for breakfast, lunch and tea. Love it!

Reviews by Romi Sharp.

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