Review Blog

Mar 05 2009

Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear by Andy Stanton

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Egmont, 2008
(Ages 7+) Recommended. You know how when you buy a new car and suddenly notice all the people around you driving the same model - well, as soon as I started reading Mr Gum I noticed lots of children in school devouring Andy Stanton's books. What was also noticeable was that most were boys aged between 8 and 10 - and all unanimously raved about the five instalments of Mr Gum's adventures.
With cartoon illustrations and a madcap blurb to entice, Mr Gum and The Dancing Bear is the fifth adventure in the series. It is a gem of a novel; turbo charged with slapstick jokes and diamond encrusted gags. Andy Stanton really is the next best thing to Captain Underpants, Roald Dahl and Steve Cole all rolled into one.
If you enjoy jokes like: "there was evil written all over his face. He had written it there that morning in biro" then Andy Stanton is the man for you. I'm sure there are some who will dismiss his books as lightweight, but the children I spoke to talked animatedly about his jokes, especially his play on words, his fast moving storylines and his outrageous characters. I know many loyal fans of Horrid Henry and Captain Underpants who struggle to move on - Andy Stanton should be their next discovery!
Claire Larson

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