Thursday, 31 October 2013

Happy Halloween

 Never mind the window or wheelbarrow, Peter. You need to watch your friends. 

The Spook Expert

Have the text and illustrations been mixed up by accident? Or was the illustrator so bored  by the dullsville plot of an elderly lady living in a large house on her own and some pesky kids that he or she decided to spice it up with zombies?

Samuel's verdict: Look at Peter's back, it looks as though someone's been eating him.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

If I was a Beard...

From Children's Favourite Beards and Other Facial Hair Poems: Volume III

Monday, 3 June 2013

The crazy 80s when we all went to work in baths

Morning Bath

Morning Bath is set in the pre-health and safety 1980s when it was perfectly normal to go to work in a bath and remain there for the whole day. It follows the story of Mr Porter, a man who enjoys his bath so much that he never wants to get out.  Although his boss is fed up with his bad timekeeping and arriving at work in a customised bath on wheels, does he sack him? No. He suggests that he makes a few adjustments to the bath, including adding a heater - totally unconcerned that his customers are being served by a naked man lying in a bath.

Samuel's verdict: Wouldn't a heater electrocute him? And he'd drip everywhere if he had to get some change from the till or something from a shelf.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

A special investigation into a 40-year-old school book

It's another Tim and the Hidden in Grime Illustrations special 

and is it any wonder that the book is falling apart 

as it dates from at least the 1970s when

Wyndgate Secondary School was around

which means thousands of kids, some of whom are probably grandparents now, must have read 

all of Tim's mind-numbingly boring adventures 

The Pool by the Whispering Trees (at least that's what we think it says if you squint).

Yet more evidence that the school's assertion that its school books get 'damaged quickly by little fingers' is WRONG. This one is stamped Wyndgate Secondary School. Using our amazing powers of investigation, we discovered the school closed down in the 1970s and must have been given to our primary school in...God knows when. Shortly afterwards? Or perhaps the school scavenged it from a skip along with all the others in its reading scheme? 

Or maybe I'm just really stupid and misheard. It's not a reading scheme, where children are  encouraged to be lifelong readers by giving them access to up to date and engaging books, but in fact a germ breeding scheme. Now everything makes sense.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

So secret that its title must never be read

Trouble at the Secret R by James W

Another levitating friend from the late 70s 

Dodgy-looking robber

Dodgy-looking builder

Dodgy-looking robber foiled by dodgy-looking builder

But hairy monkey likes Charlie's look

And reconstructs poses and scenes

from the scintillating Trouble at the Secret R

Trouble at the Secret R

Where to start? The title of the book is missing because the front is so worn away and several pages in the middle have come loose from this turgid tale about tea chests, a turnip carved into a scary face, a builder called Charlie and some robbers who are trying to steal his tools. 

Samuel's verdict: The people look gross. They have stupid hair. 

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Can't touch this...without feeling nauseous

Stinky Mandrake's Castle has seen better days - 31 years ago, perhaps, when it was first bought by the school?
It's a stains 'n' cellotape special

with torn, tattered and soapy pages

so welcoming to a young reader

because not only is it delightful to touch

but it features Alan Tremaine

            Who? What? Why?

Mandrake's Castle
(from Tim and the Hidden in Grime Illustrations series)

A double whammy of rubbishness. Gross to touch with pages so frayed and soapy that they're difficult to find, let alone turn. And the story is incredibly boring, despite Tim and his friends being locked up in a castle by creepy Mandrake. It also makes little sense when another creepy man named Alan Tremaine turns up at the end without any explanation, and invites Tim and friends into his house. Have they learnt their don't-go-into-strangers' houses-ever-again lesson? Of course not. They accept even though no-one has made any reference to this Alan Tremaine in the previous 30 odd pages. And weirder still, the writer insists on referring to him as Alan Tremaine for the remainder of the book, believing that children are fascinated by this Alan Tremaine and his every movement. So we have a whole paragraph dedicated to Alan Tremaine making a cup of tea and setting it on a table in excruciating detail. On a par with Sammy's New Yellow Jumper

Samuel's verdict: I don't like reading it. It smells. I can't find the pages to turn.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Dirty, rotten, lying goose and the golden egg

    A sweet tale about a duck's quest
to find a golden egg

where he finds one

of every colour

except gold... 

 until he enlists some help from his friends
 and at last their quest is over...a golden egg!

Except bare-faced liar of a goose denies all knowledge

and palms them off with a chocolate egg from Lidl
The Golden Egg
Despite being pictured sitting on a golden egg, the goose states: 'I do not have an egg of gold,' and even shakes her head to reiterate the point. Is this a publishing error? Or is there a more sinister explanation? Has the goose changed the words after watching all the 'cash for gold' TV adverts and is planning to sell it.
Luke's verdict: What? The rabbits and ducks know the goose is a big, fat liar. They're looking at her as if she's mad. But she's bigger than them.