Review Blog

Mar 24 2009

The incredibly boring monotonous family by Phillip Barry

cover image

Pan Macmillan, Sydney. 2008
ISBN 9780330424127
(Age: 8 to 11) An entertaining comedy.
Despite the off putting title of this book it is a fun read. The cover and interior have Quentin Blake type illustrations by Charlotte Lance, and the book had a Roald Dahl-esque humour, with unattractive characters made entertaining by the lively writing. The Monotonous family has the most boring life one could imagine, even down to eating choko sandwiches and vinegary porridge every day and listening to tapes of Pi to the nth degree on the way to school! It is all in the realm of fantasy (except Good Weekend magazine recently featured a family who lived on only raw meat, raw milk and raw cheese!)
One day a gold key mysteriously comes their way and it opens the door to a life of fun for the two children, Stan and Ann. Suddenly they experience food (mountains of glorious food) colour, toys and modern clothes .
However, only Ann can handle it, and she learns how to have fun at home and school, making friends for the first time in the process. Stan gorges on the food, Mr. Monotonous is threatened by it all and cowers in his room and Mrs. Monotonous becomes obsessed by how to become rich by duplicating the gold key.
Ann has to sort her family out and much nonsensical hilarity and mayhem ensues before all ends happily. How people react to change is a theme entertainingly tackled here.
Scattered throughout the book are commonplace cliches, e.g. dead as a doornail, which receive a humorous scrutiny as well as introducing readers to them.
This would be a marvellous book to read aloud to middle primary students, many of whom would be likely to borrow it for themselves later and then be encouraged to go on to read Roald Dahl.
Kevyna Gardner

Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
2017 Children's Peace Literature Award Short List
Inkys Awards 2017
2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award
2017 NSW Premier's History Awards
The Queensland Literary Awards 2017
CBCA Awards 2017 winners
Environment Award for Children's Literature 2017
Speech Pathology shortlist 2017
2017 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals
2017 Branford Boase Award
2017 UKLA Book Awards

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Bookmark and poster templates