Little Lunch: Triple the Treats, by Danny Katz & Mitch Vane

Rory ran all the way to the school gate and pressed his face against the wire fence so hard he got crisscross marks on his nose.
He was about to do the unthinkable, he was ready to do the impossible. Rory was about to go …
Out of bounds.

Rory is always forgetting his playlunch, and nobody has any food to share with him – so he has a great idea. He’ll sneak over to the shop and get some hot chips. Not everybody agrees that it’s a good plan – and if Mrs Gonsha finds out he’ll be in big trouble!

The Milk Bar is one of three funny stories that make up Little Lunch: Triple the Treats . The Little Lunch stories have amused young readers for several years, but now they have also been made into a television series and the stories in Triple the Treats are based on episodes of the show.

The stories are humorous, fast moving (each takes place within a single recess break) and well woven, with the characters both diverse and likeable. Black and white illustrations by Mitch Vane are complemented by still photos from the television series.

Lots of fun.

Triple the Treats , by Danny Katz and Mitch Vane
Black Dog Books, 2016
ISBN 9781925126907

Little Lunch: The Off-Limits Fence by Danny Katz ill Mitch Vane

Amba was sitting beside Battie on the bench that goes in a circle around the big old tree. She said, ‘Hey Battie, did you hear what happened this morning?’

Battie was chewing on a chewy muesli bar. He had to take a big chewy blob out of his mouth and hold it in his hand so he could talk.

‘No, Amba, what happened this morning?’

‘Well,’ said Amba, ‘Max and Elsa had to go home from school early. Their dad came and picked them up from the front office and nobody knows why.’

Amba was sitting beside Battie on the bench that goes in a circle around the big old tree. She said, ‘Hey Battie, did you hear what happened this morning?’

Battie was chewing on a chewy muesli bar. He had to take a big chewy blob out of his mouth and hold it in his hand so he could talk.

‘No, Amba, what happened this morning?’

‘Well,’ said Amba, ‘Max and Elsa had to go home from school early. Their dad came and picked them up from the front office and nobody knows why.

Set in a primary school, ‘Little Lunch: The Off-Limits Fence’ is a collection of three short stories. In the first, ‘The Bench that goes in a Circle around the Big Tree’ offers a ‘Telegraph’ story about why two of their friends, Elsa and Max had to go home early. The explanations become wilder and wilder until someone realises they actually know the real story. It doesn’t stop the rumours though. The second story ‘The Equipment Shed’ offers a look at the opportunities offered by free play and the third ‘The Off-Limits Fence’ is narrated and acted out by a single child playing all sides of his football game, including that of the umpire. Black and white illustrations appear on every opening. There is a contents page and named character images.

The Off-Limits Fence is hilarious! Each story is entirely believable while being totally wild. It’s as if Katz and Vane peeked through a hole in a fence at a primary school. Every teacher, every parent, everyone who has ever had a chance to observe children at play will recognise the truth of these stories. Each story is short but rich in detail (including the gross bits). Readers of all ages will chuckle at the absurdity of the observations and language. Recommended for newly independent readers and anyone wanting a chuckle.

Little Lunch: The Off-Limits Fence, Danny Katz ill Mitch Vane
Black Dog Books 2015 ISBN: 9781742032375

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

www.clairesaxby.com

S.C.U.M. By Danny Katz

… And in through the gates I go and now here I am in school. Lots of others are coming in through the gates with me and some are walking-talking …

angie got invited? /yeah epic party / angie? Y’serious?’

Saw Cutsy riding his bike around near the pool / Bullcrap / Nah bull-true bro

None of them is Sarah. Why isn’t Sarah here now? This is the gate she always goes through, this is the time she normally goes through the gate.

she asked why I dyed my hair blonde / I would take that as an insult

Always 8.43. Every now and then it might be earlier if she walks quick or gets dropped off by her dad, but I am the international expert on Sarah-school-arrival-times, …

… And in through the gates I go and now here I am in school. Lots of others are coming in through the gates with me and some are walking-talking …

angie got invited? /yeah epic party / angie? Y’serious?’

Saw Cutsy riding his bike around near the pool / Bullcrap / Nah bull-true bro

None of them is Sarah. Why isn’t Sarah here now? This is the gate she always goes through, this is the time she normally goes through the gate.

she asked why I dyed my hair blonde / I would take that as an insult

Always 8.43. Every now and then it might be earlier if she walks quick or gets dropped off by her dad, but I am the international expert on Sarah-school-arrival-times, …

S.C.U.M. is short for Students Combined Underground Movement, a loose collective of students who don’t fit into any recognised social grouping at school. Tom Zurbo-Goldblatt narrates this journey of the educational and social life of a public school teenager. Every student has a history, and if they don’t Tom and his friends will happily invent one. Every teacher has a nickname and if they are female, a position on the ‘hot’ scale. Tom has a crush on Sarah and knows as much about her as it is possible to learn without actually speaking to her. He has a best friend and they communicate via insults. This is the inside story, Tom-style.

Tom Zurbo-Goldblatt is 14 years old. Schoolwork seldom keeps his focus for more than a few seconds before other important matters flood in. He has to maintain an awareness of the school bully and what he might do next, chase the girl he likes, avoid the girls he doesn’t like, maintain friendships and communicate non-verbally. It would hardly be reasonable to expect him to keep track of what the teacher is saying. But he does somehow navigate through the day. Readers will recognise the various hazards of school life and empathise and chuckle at his lurch from crisis to crisis. From the scruffy cover to the sketch illustrations and variety of text size/type, this is teenage boy up close and personal. Thank goodness there’s no scratch and sniff! Recommended for upper-primary and early secondary readers.

S.C.U.M.

S.C.U.M., Danny Katz
Allen & Unwin 2012
ISBN: 9781742379241

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

www.clairesaxby.com

Available from good bookstores or online.

Big Stories from Little Lunch, by Danny Katz

Mrs Gonsha has a big bum.
It’s a huge bum. Her bum is so big and wobbly, it looks like a gigantic beanbag made out of porridge.
Whenever Mrs Gonsha goes walking around the school, her bum wobbles and jiggles and wiggles and bobbles – and when she stops walking, her bum keeps wobbling and jiggling and wiggling and bobbling for a bit longer.
One day Mrs Gonsha was walking around the school with her big bum wobbling and bobbling, wiggling and jiggling. All the kids were playing on the slide, going up and down, up and down.
Mrs Gonsha came over and said, ‘Hey kids, that looks like fun, can I have a go?’

Big Stories from Little Lunch is a collection of the five ‘Little Lunch’ titles from Danny Katz and illustrated by Mitch Vane. Each of the individual titles comprised 3 stories. All stories feature the same children although different children take the lead role. Their teacher, Mrs Gonsha, appears in some of the stories, and the principal is mentioned but unseen. Each story occurs during ‘little lunch’, or recess, in a school yard. Characters range from show offs to fairy-artists, from naughty to nice, as seen in most school yards. There’s Manny with his amazing little lunch packs, Rory who has his own special chair in the principal’s office and Atticus who needs his glasses. Text is spare and there are illustrations on most pages.

Big Stories from Little Lunch is off-beat, ordinary, gross and spectacular…often all in the same story. Stories are short and ideal for the newly confident reader wanting to transition from picture books but not yet ready for chapter book. Each story deals lightheartedly and humourously with the wonderful ordinariness of the playground. Children will recognise themselves and their playmates and the things that happen in the playground. All manner of adventures happen in the 15 minutes of little lunch, and all are wrapped up neatly and satisfactorily by the time the school bell rings. Mitch Vane’s pen and ink drawings set the tone for these funny tales. Recommended for lower primary.

Big Stories from Little Lunch , Danny Katz, ill Mitch Vane
black dog books, 2009
ISBN: 9781742031071

Big Stories from Little Lunch (Little Lunch S.)

reviewed by Claire Saxby, children’s writer
www.clairesaxby.com

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

A Little Election, by Danny Katz and Mitch Vane

Rory wanted to be the Prime Minister.
He thought it would be really cool because then he could do anything he wanted. So one day at lunchtime, Rory decided to become Prime Minister – even though he was just a kid.

From the author and illustrator team that created the popular Little Lunch series, comes this delightfully irreverent and very clever picture book which takes a look at the election process through the eyes of children.

When Rory decides he wants to be the Prime Minister, his wise teacher, Mrs Gonsha, explains that he needs to be elected. Debra-Jo Woo decides she wants to be the Prime Minister, too, and soon the class are having an election, complete with campaigning, media interviews and outrageous promises.

Whilst this is highly entertaining, it is also a useful exploration of the election process in terms which children can understand and would be a helpful classroom tool during the forthcoming federal election. Danny Katz uses deceptively simple language which is accessible to kids, and Mitch Vane’s ink line drawings, with splashes of colour, are filled with humour.

Top votes.

A Little Election, by Danny Katz and Mitch Vane
Black Dog Books, 2007

Little Lunch Four, by Danny Katz

There it was, on the footpath, in a paper bag—the biggest paper bag you’ve ever seen. It was Manny’s playlunch. It had fallen out of Manny’s schoolbag on his way to school. And there it was on the footpath, just out of reach.

When Manny realises he’s dropped his playlunch on the way to school, he is very sad—the bag is filled with all his favourite treats. He isn’t allowed to leave the school grounds, and he can’t reach the playlunch. But perhaps his friends can help him.

The School Gate is one of three funny stories in Little Lunch Four, a humorous look at playground adventures during little lunch (or recess). Each self-contained story is a self-contained offering, with humorous line drawings providing lots of support (and entertainment) for beginning readers.

This is the fourth title in the Little Lunch series and is suitable for readers aged 6 to 10.

Little Lunch Four, by Danny Katz, illustrated by Mitch Vane
Black Dog, 2005

M.O.T.H.E.R., by Danny Katz

Whenever I used to have my school sports carnivals, Mum would always give me a little hug and kiss before I left home, and she’d say, ‘Remember, Danny, slow and steady wins the race.’ So when it was time for my race I always ran very slowly, and I always kept my body very steady, and I always came about second last.

With Mother’s Day coming up, this little offering is sure to bring laughter both to mothers and to their children. Comedian Danny Katz shares his observations of mothers and motherhood in a collection of comments and recollections about his own mother, his wife, mother-in-law, and mothers in general.

From the mottos and sayings mothers use, to obsessive cleaning and overprotectiveness, Katz has a keen but affectionate eye for the absurd, which are both witty and very true. Illustrations, by Jenny Griggs, who also designed the book, are simple but amusing, and the design, in small format, with a tactile cover and muted colours, makes this an appealing gift book.

Cute.

M.O.T.H.E.R., BY Danny Katz
Harper Collins, 2006

Little Lunch Three, by Danny Katz

When Mrs Gonsha bakes a pavlova for her class, to celebrate Max and Elsa’s birthday, the children are excited – until they sneak a taste of the pavlova while Mrs Gonsha isn’t looking. It tastes terrible – and when Mrs Gonsha comes back, she’ll expect them to eat it.

Under the Tree Near the oval is one of three funny stories in Little Lunch Three The second story, The Lost and Found Box tells the story of what Attcius Busby finds in the lost and found box when he loses his glasses, whilst the final story, The Bubblers recounts a joke-telling session at the water bubblers.

Each story takes place at recess (or little lunch) time and so is fast-moving, slice-of-life stuff, with plenty of kid-level laughs. The text is easy to read, with comic-style drawings on every page, both to support the text and to provide extra humour.

Little Lunch Three, by Danny Katz, illustrated by Mitch Vane
Black Dog Books, 2003

Little Lunch Two, by Danny Katz

Tamara Noodle loves the monkey bars. She can do almost as many tricks on them as a REAL monkey. She can hang upside down, she can twozees and even threezees. But what happens when someone else wants to use the monkey bars?

The three new stories in Little Lunch Two are just as silly as those in Little Lunch were. The cheeky stories of Danny Katz are again well complemented by the clever illustrations of Mitch Vane.

Even the most reluctant of readers will find the stories both accessible amd, just as importantly, sude-splittingly funny. Katz has a way of seeing the school yard through the eys of a six year old.

Roll on Little Lunch Three!

Little Lunch Two, by Danny Katz, illustrated by Mitch Vane
Black Dog Books, 2002

Little Lunch, by Danny Katz

Mrs Gonsha has a huge bum. So huge and wobbly that it looks like a gigantic beanbag made out of porridge. So, when Mrs Gonsha decides she wants to slide down the slide, the kids warn her that her bum is too big. When she ignores their warning, disater strikes. How will the kids get Mrs Gonsha unstuck?

The Slide is just one of three funny stories in Little Lunch. Each tells the tale of what happens to the kids of Mrs Gonsha’s class in the fifteen minutes that is little lunch.

Kids aged six to nine will love these stories for their silliness and irreverence, and because they can digest each story quickly. Parents and kids will love them because their kids will be reading – and enjoying it.

With the wit of author Danny Katz and the clever cartoon-style drawings of illustrator Mitch Vane, Little Lunch is a winner from innovative new publisher Black Dog Books.

Little Lunch, by Danny Katz, illustrated by Mitch Vane
Black Dog Books, 2001