Little Willy took a match
And set fire to the cat.
Said Little Willy as it burnt,
‘I bet the cat hates that.’
Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton are two of the best-known names in the children’s publishing industry in recent years, both individually and as a team. Whilst each new offering is greeted enthusiastically by young readers, adult critics are not always positive about what is produced. This latest collaboration, The Bad Book is no exception, with newspapers around the country running stories about reactions to the book, which have included some bookstores refusing to stock it, recommended reading lists being amended to exclude it, and parent groups up in arms.
Despite all the fuss, it must be said that this is a book for kids, not adults, and kids will love its silliness and complete irreverence. From cover to cover there are rude jokes, messy jokes and (of course) bad jokes. There are jokes about bodily functions, jokes about bad parents and loads of violence. So, while adults may have their doubts, very few kids will. They will laugh, they will share it with their friends and they will read it – probably over and over.
The Bad Book will appeal to kids. Adult purchasers – parents, teachers and librarians – will want to make their own decision about its appropriateness or otherwise for their young charges.
The Bad Book, by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
Pan Macmillan, 2004
Penny McRose picked her nose
Morning, noon and night.
She picked it until her head caved in
And her family died of fright.
Did you know that udders are creatures from a different dimension that float down to Earth and attach themselves to cows? When they shed their skins annually they create rubber gloves. You didn’t? Well, perhaps you should read The Golden Udder where you will learn these facts and plenty of other useless and unreliable tidbits of information.
The Golden Udder is the fourth in Terry Denton’s series and features Nico, Claudia and Mikey on a new adventure into parallel worlds and beyond the known universe. This time they find they ahve inadvertently stolen the Queen of Fresia’s Golden Udder and must get it back to her. The reader must steer them through the storymaze, past warped jokes and impossible storylines, to safety.
Kids will love the complete silliness of the Storymaze concept, filled with comic strip illustrations, jokes and general silliness.
The Golden Udder, by Terry Denton
Allen & Unwin, 2002
Nico wants nothing more than to be the surfing champion of the universe. He’s been training hard and is sure he can win. All he has to do is get to the planet Friesia on time and intact.
With some help from his M.I.T., a nifty device which can transfer them through both space and time, Nico gets to Friesia with his friends Mikey and Claudia. Unfortunately, they’re four thousand years too early and they land in the middle of a crisis in Friesia City. Nico and Mikey are trapped outside the city and Claudia and the M.I.T. are inside, but not together. Can they solve the crisis AND be reunited?
The Wooden Cow is the third Storymaze book, following on from the success of The Eye of Ulam and The Ultimate wave. Terry Denton’s unique combination of cartoon-strips, rude narrators and pure silliness, has kids laughing as they turn the pages and looking for more when they’re finished.
The Wooden Cow is suitable for readers aged seven to twleve, including reluctant readers.
Storymaze: The Wooden Cow, by Terry Denton
Allen & Unwin, 2002
Cooper thinks it’s great when he and his mum move back to Kelasta, the town where his Dad grew up. Here he can play in the bush and make loads of new friends, especially with Danny. But now things are going wrong. Firstly, Danny has gone away with his parents, leaving Cooper with no one to talk to about his other problems – namely his lack of a computer, his Mum’s lack of a job, and the fact that every Friday he has to visit a witch.
The kids in his class have been assigned to visit various old people in the town, to offer help or companionship. Cooper has been matched with Winnie Smith, better known as Winnie the Witch. None of the other kids will go anywhere near her house. But Cooper has to, despite his attempts to get out of it. Winnie keeps her dead husband’s leg in her back room, and a ghost – or is it another victim – can be heard screaming in there. Then she’s out digging up hemlock in the dark, and filling sacks with who knows what. Cooper is sure he is going to be another of Winnie’s victims.
Cooper Riley, by Maureen Edwards, is a Quick Reads title from new Queensland publisher, Word Weavers Press. Quick Reads are aimed at reluctant readers, especially boys, and Cooper Riley meets its mark. Kids will love the hilarious story, the manageable length, and the excellent illustrations of the well-known Terry Denton. A great fun book for eight to twelve year olds.
Cooper Riley, by Maureen Edwards
Word Weavers Press, 2002.