Review Blog

Mar 08 2017

Snow Man and the seven ninjas by Matt Cosgrove

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Epic fail tales series. Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781743811696
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Matt Cosgrove's hilarious series Epic fail tales are twisted classic fairy stories, reminiscent of Roald Dahl's Revolting rhymes and the Fractured fairy tales cartoons.
Being at home during the school holidays is boring, so the narrator borrows and reads his sister's 'Snow White' storybook. He alters the text by adding cut and pasted words, totally changes the characters, includes witty asides and comments in speech bubbles and invents humorous situations to make a crazy new story Snow Man and the Seven Ninjas.
Just before Miss Bacon dies performing her juggling chainsaw act at a talent show, she wishes for 'a monster made of snow with eyes as red as blood, and muscles as big as the butt of a pig.' The little monster magically appears and wins first prize. Hooked on the fame of winning, little Snow Man exercised and grew stronger and stronger, and he even developed a marvellous six-pack. Across town, super dude checks in with his magic mirror, unfortunately. He calls for the stunt man's help, promising him fifty dollars and a Chinese take-away if he can slay the Snow Man. The super dude also threatens the stunt man's pet goldfish and various methods of disposal are illustrated - super cannon bowl or super kitty snack.
The stunt man's knife throwing act becomes quite confronting, as he tries many ways to kill off the Snow Man; after the knives, lemon juice in the eyes, he aims a Brussels sprout filled slingshot at him. When Snow Man escapes to the home of the Seven Ninjas a new level of craziness happens. He becomes their slave, someone to insult, as well as rehearsing for his stage comeback.
Cosgrove's narrative uses silly rhymes, sarcastic dialogue, snappy puns, with the amusing overwritten text; this radically changes the original storyline. This is a laugh out loud story for younger readers and for those familiar with the original, an out of the ordinary fun fairy tale. His cartoons are funny and gross; they often have layered levels of meaning.
As part of Middle Primary English lessons, students could develop their own fractured fairy tales after reading Dahl's narrative poems and Cosgrove's Epic fail tales.
Rhyllis Bignell

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