The Incredibly Boring Monotonous Family, by Philip Barry

Ann and Stan Monotonous were two perfectly ordinary children. They were so ordinary, in fact, that they wore their school uniform every day, even on weekends and holidays, and went to bed at the same time each night. They certainly weren’t normal like you and me. They were very ordinary, which is different from normal, because ordinary usually means dull, mundane, banal, mediocre, prosaic, plain and of course, boring. So Ann and Stan were not two perfectly normal children at all. On the contrary: they were all of those words that mean ordinary rolled into one.
The Monotonous twins were also incredibly smart children.

Things are rather dull in the Monotonous household and that’s the way they all like it. Well, that’s how they like it until it becomes clear that they don’t really know any other way to live. Ann’s hobby is watching grass grow, Stan’s is collecting twigs. Hmm. The highlight of their lives is the decision to save enough money to be the first family to study in space. Then one foggy night a fox runs in front of their car. The fox whispers in Ann’s ear and gives her a key. The key changes the lives of everyone in the family, although not quite in the way Ann initially expects.

The Incredibly Boring Monotonous Family are very, very boring. Dad’s busy with theoretical science; Mum’s busy being an accountant, and the twins are busy learning as much about numbers as they can, even when the rest of their class is learning about sport or English. There is no time for friends, no time for fun. Until the key. Each member of the family responds quite differently to the changes brought about by the key. There is a wealth of discussion material possible around their responses, but to focus on this entirely would be to miss the humour. Philip Barry writes with wit and gentle charm. He uses asides to the reader to explain concepts or words that might otherwise challenge. There are engaging line illustrations every few pages. Recommended for 9-12 yo readers.

The Incredibly Boring Monotonous Family, by Philip Barry ill Charlotte Lance
Pan Macmillan ISBN: 9780330424127