In the middle of a thick wooded forest on the outskirts of the bustling, grand ancient city of Rome, two teenage boys were hunting for wild pigs.
‘Shuush,’ whispered Cornelius, the older of the two.
‘What?’ croaked Rufus, Cornelius’s cousin, who was visiting from the southern city of Pompeii.
Cornelius gestured for Rufus to follow him. He had heard a rustle in the bushes. He cocked back his bow-and-arrow and tip-toed toward the sound.
‘Is it a pig? Is it? Is it?’ asked Rufus, who had never been hunting before.
Farticus Maximus – Stink-off Battle of the Century is the second in a new series from Felice Arena. The title story is told in two parts – the first instalment opens this collection of stories, the second closes it. In between, there are stories of a dad with an absolute intolerance of in-car flatulence, a Stick-dudes cartoon story about school camp (also told in prose), a Sherlock Holmes and Dr Buttson mystery to solve, a stinky take on the movies and more. Arena has illustrated as well as written this collection. Illustrations include movie posters, a flip book, cartoon story and other scattered images. Text is large and easy to read, with many phrases in ‘bold’ for emphasis.
There is no doubt about the intended readership for Farticus Maximus – Stink-off Battle of the Century. It’s pitched squarely at mid-primary boys who chortle, snigger and chuckle at any vaguely bottom-related humour. It’s all here. From the smallest accidental pop to the lay-‘em-out-flat emission and the King of Them All, SBD, there’s a fart for every boy. Along the way though, there are wonderful character/nose names like Sinus and Rhina and Ancient Rome information that floats in with the jokes. But shhh! don’t tell! Let no one call ‘Farticus Maximus – Stink-off Battle of the Century educational! Not out loud. Readers who love the sound or not-sound of their own (or others’) hot air, will love this.
Farticus Maximus – Stink-off Battle of the Century and More Stories that Reek!, Felice Arena
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
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