Review Blog

Jul 17 2015

The Porridge of Knowledge by Archie Kimpton

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Ill. by Kate Hindley. Hot Key Books, 2015. ISBN 9781471402807
(Age: 8-10) Themes: Good and Evil, Magic, School Life. Milk lives with her Granddad in a small seaside town Slopp-on-Sea. She was found abandoned as a baby by the milkman and adopted by a a loving couple she calls Grandma and Granddad.  After her grandma passes away, she is left to look after her grandfather whose mind is going and he is often seen wandering around the town. When he discovers an old book with an unusual recipe THE PORRIDGE OF KNOWLEDGE things rapidly began to change in Milk's life.
Milk's school life is terrorized by her vindictive teacher Ms. Cerise, who sets an impossible maths test for the class and demands all the students study hard over the weekend. With Carp her friend and cafe owner, Milk decides to cook a batch of the special porridge. The ingredients are truly gross: dandruff, a pig's kidney, large limp limpets are added to the oatmeal and stirred. The resulting concoction is foul smelling and difficult to swallow, but amazing things happen when you do! Even the cafe ants who taste the goo become amazing builders making amazing replicas of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in mashed potatoes.
Milk becomes the cleverest person in town, Carp's restaurant becomes the mecca for bus tours wanting to taste the best food in town and even Grandpa changes from confused to normal behaviour. After tasting the porridge, the class answers every question correctly in the advanced Maths test.The porridge has a magical quality. Milk and Carp save the day when Mr. Blanket poisons the beach with toxic waste from his toothpaste factory.
This is a funny, quirky story quintessentially English, just enough grossness, suspension of belief and triumph of good over evil to engage the reader.
Rhyllis Bignell

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