Erasmus James & the Grat Siege, by DC Green

My eyes tore open.
The dawn-smeared skyline tilted 90 degrees.
‘That’s not supposed to happen!’
I gawked at the 40 bodies around me, jolting from their sleep. Most were kids, their ages ranging from zit-piled 16-year-olds to wrinkly unborn babies in jars.
air whizzed past, thick with salt, watering our eyes.
Nicole, a bratty nine-year-old, shrieked, ‘We’re all gonna DIE!’
‘Don’t panic!’ I screamed (only mildly panicked).
My balding dad snored beside me, drool trailing from his chin onto the jar baby cradled in his lap. Beside him dozed Sanders, a chook so ancient she left her purse on Noah’s Ark.
Stupid hard-to-wake adults! I jabbed their ribs.
‘Good gravy!’ Dad blinked. ‘We’re plunging from the sky!’

Erasmus James is back in the final adventure of DC Green’s trilogy. Erasmus James & the Grat Siege opens with disaster and goes downhill from there. An initially hopeful landing, on what appears to be a new island in the world Uponia, turns nasty when it becomes clear that the Grats (Giant armoured rats) they are fleeing have followed them. The Grats, led by arch-villain Dice, are determined to destroy every non-Grat in existence on every ZAPP world imaginable. Erasmus, sometimes known as Raz, has a lot to deal with for a twelve-nearly-thirteen-year-old boy. He must convince the locals he’s on the side of good, bring together enemies more accustomed to eating one another and find a way to beat the mind-twisting Dice and her endless army.

In this world where computer games take children on adventures to foreign worlds with alien creatures, nothing can compare to the world inside the mind of main character and former king of the kids, Erasmus. It’s impossible to predict just what will happen next. It’s crazy fun wrapped up in mindgames. While Erasmus James & the Grat Siege can be read as a stand alone novel, readers will enjoy reading how Erasmus and his crew got into this much of a mess. The other titles in this series are: Erasmus James & the Galactic Zapp Machine and Erasmus James: King of Kid’s Paradise. Extraordinarily punny, Erasmus James & the Grat Siege will spin you around until you lose all sense of who you are and what you’re doing there. In a good way. You’ll get dizzy in this whirlwind universe of giant chooks, ninja stallions, a reclusive inventor king, a mind-invading Queen, and of course an ultra-confident, quick-thinking, mega-inventive almost-teenage boy.

Erasmus James & the Grat Siege DC Green
Barrel Books 2011
ISBN: 9780980348859

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

Erasmus James, King of Kid’s Paradise, by DC Green

Yuck! Some crazy man just dabbed mascara on my cheek!!
‘Get back, you freak!’ I waved my arms. ‘Do I look like a girl? I’m Erasmus James, boy genius!’
‘You must wear pancake make-up.’ the man pouted. ‘Or your face will glow like a red-nosed reindeer under the studio lights.’
I pointed at the guest in the next chair. ‘Does that bloke have to wear make-up too?’
‘Yep. Tom Cruiser does.’
Tom Cruiser waved.
‘Okay,’ I grumbled. ‘But no lipstick.’
Make-up man dabbed. I coughed on powdery fumes and tried to think about anything except rates…

King of Kid’s Paradise is the sequel to Erasmus James and the Galactic Zapp Machine. In this instalment, twelve year-old Erasmus Jones is sure that his status as the most famous boy alive is going to help him with the school bullies. Wrong. The only thing that’s changed is that he’s more visible to bigger bullies. By the time Dad collects him after school, Erasmus is sure this is the worst day ever. But Dad has a surprise. He and Erasmus can zapp one more time while they have the only working galactic zapp machine. After Dad’s factory begins productions, thousands then millions will be able to explore their own ‘unique zapp universe, filled with worlds created from the same subconscious cauldron that generates dreams in bubbles of hope and fear.’ Erasmus and his father zapp to Kid’s Paradise, which is populated by kids aged between eleven and sixteen. Initially, Erasmus is happy to accept the wonder of Kid’s Paradise and the fact that they want him for their king. But eventually he discovers trouble in paradise.

King of Kid’s Paradise is a rip-snorter of an adventure – plenty of hot air and not a little snorting. It’s an empty-your-pockets, hold-on-to-your-seat roller-coaster journey through a pre-adolescent’s imaginings and into the world beyond his own. The first person narrative voice keeps the reader buckled in for the ride. There are puns for both young and older readers. The print is large and the chapters are short, an added inducement for readers challenged by longer novels. Recommended for mid- to upper-primary readers.

Erasmus James, King of Kid’s Paradise, DC Green
Barrel Books 2008
ISBN: 9780980348828