Manfred The Baddie by John Fardell

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Manfred The Baddie by John Fardell

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A book which both adults and children will find hilarious as Manfred the Baddie changes his ways for good. It's a good story with brilliant illustrations - highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: August 2009
Publisher: Quercus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1849160445

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Manfred is a baddie. There can be no doubt about that. There he is, with his gang of henchmen, breaking into a house whilst one of the men keeps a lookout. Brilliant inventors are kidnapped and whisked away to his hideout where they are forced to build diabolical machines on pain of being fed to the piranha. There's just the one, but it certainly frightens the inventors. The machines are used to rob aeroplanes, raid art galleries and to conduct acts of piracy on the high seas.

Worst of all, if one of his henchmen does something wrong he's forced to stand in a corner whilst the others call him names.

Then one day Manfred was poorly, but no one brought him a bowl of soup, tucked his blankets in or read him a story. Eventually he thought to ring the doctor to ask why no one was making him get well, but the doctor asked him a question.

Who would want you to get well?

And he went on to tell him about all the people who didn't want him to get better. Manfred thought about it. Manfred realised that he didn't want to be a baddie any more. He wanted to be a goodie.

When Manfred was better he was a reformed character. He built an art gallery where people could enter without paying. He flew daring missions of mercy, rescuing families from the floods and he gave pleasure rides on his boat to children. He was even nice to his henchmen. But sometimes, just sometimes Manfred couldn't resist sneaking out of bedroom and being just a little bit mischievous. I'm not going to tell you what he did; you'll have to read the book and find our for yourself!

There's a gentle moral in this tale - that it's much nicer to be a pleasant person than to be a bad one, but it's not pushed too hard. There's even a fine distinction made between being bad (which does hurt people) and being a little bit naughty which doesn't usually have quite such dreadful consequences. But this book isn't just about teaching good behaviour. It's about making children (and adults) laugh, because it is funny.

The machines which the inventors make for Manfred the Baddie are wonderful, as they bore their way into art galleries and open aeroplanes like tin cans. The detail in the illustrations is excellent. It's not just the pictures which are funny. The story is laugh aloud funny too. Manfred is so pathetic as he lies in bed when he's feeling ill. The master criminal doesn’t quite have his favourite teddy bear with him – but it's close! It's a book which is simply good fun and which will repay reading time and time again.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag.

Manfred will probably appeal more to boys than to girls but for a feminine approach to the question of manners we can recommend Tea For Ruby by Sarah Ferguson and Robin Preiss-Glasser. For another book which is all round good fun why not have a look at Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog by Mini Grey?

Booklists.jpg Manfred The Baddie by John Fardell is in the Top Ten Picture Books of 2008.

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Buy Manfred The Baddie by John Fardell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Manfred The Baddie by John Fardell at


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