Prank Queen by Zoe George and Dani Vee. Illus. by Jesus Lopez

cover image

Mum is a prankster. She is quick and able to catch her family unawares with her practical jokes. She throws water balloons at the kids in bed, gets them to help her fill their Dad’s work bag with spiders and tie dye his shirts pink. They put a fish in the pavlova and chilli in the porridge. Sand finds its way into Dad’s shoe, and his bed is full of itching powder. He seems content to putting up with the practical jokes that come his way, but fart spray in the car seems a little too much.

Even when he is asleep they attack hm with whipped cream, and one day he decides to turn the pranking around. He wraps her car with glad wrap and shuts the doors tight, he replaces all her handbags and shoes with very smelly old rags. But he cannot compete with he Prank Queen as he finds out to his chagrin.

Told in verse, kids will love the pranks that Mum plays on her family. Each description will bring squeals of delight (being wet by a water balloon), trepidation (spiders in the bag) yuck (fish in the pavlova) - the group of kids listening will have a range of responses to the stanzas that detail Mum’s wild and zany actions. They will cheer seeing Dad get some of his own back, but know that the Mum is after all the Prank Queen and will come out on top.

Wonderfully bright and detailed illustrations cover each page, showing clearly the lengths Mum goes to create havoc within her family. Long suffering Dad shows remarkable equanimity with the joke always being on him, providing a positive role model for all. The family works together well, and the illustrations will draw kids eyes to the feeling of cooperation between the members of the family, playing together and treating each day with humour and zeal.

The jokes are all things people may want to have played when they were younger, and the book gives the opportunity for people to do just that.  I can just imagine a car wrapping exercise or trying out some of the recipes, and the book gives kids a chance to think of some pranks for themselves. A book trailer is available.

Larrikin House keeps on proceeding books that make me laugh and classroom and homes will love laughing alone with Prank Queen and other books in their list, conveniently shown on the back endpaper.

Themes: Humour, Jokes, Pranks, Family.

Fran Knight