Rusty, Buster and Patch Versus the Opera, Adam Wallace (author), Serena Geddes (illus.), Krueger Wallace Press, 2017.

Dynamo Adam Wallace punches out yet another sharp-witted tale in his new series, an ode to his favourite brother-combo – the Marx Brothers. Teaming up with the impeccable Serena Geddes to illustrate the graphic chapter book, you can just see the amount of fun and laughter that went into each page. The book is divided aptly into three short ‘acts’ with large text and ‘pun’chy, easily-digestible sentences (no, you don’t eat them) for children from age five.

Just like Adam’s language, his loveable trio, Rusty, Buster and Patch are bouncy and over-zealous lads. Their mother Marnie is barely able to tame them into being the classy, fine young men she has always hoped them to become. But her attempts are unremitting, despite their tiresome behaviour, and she presents them with a surely-they’ll-become-classy-at-the-opera experience. But cakes-in-fancy-ladies’-faces, toast-in-old-men’s-beards, hot-dogs-in-trombone-players’-mouths and basically causing a ruckus is not how Marnie envisioned her boys to act. Luckily, the cheeky trio save some grace with a singing performance that has the whole crowd cheering… with the pelting of flowers thrown in the mix. Oh well, maybe they’ll learn some sophistication on their next adventure.

It contains side-splitting humour and play on language that takes its phrasing way too literally. It has energetic black and white illustrations that brilliantly define the characters’ individual quirks. Rusty, Buster and Patch Versus the Opera has it all – an entertaining show-stopper that junior readers will applaud every time they visit.

Review by Romi Sharp


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