Fruitloops and Dipsticks by Ulf Stark

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Fruitloops and Dipsticks by Ulf Stark

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Funny story about growing up in a highly eccentric family. Simone gets taken for a boy and everything goes downhill - or uphill, depending on your perspective - from there. Her coming-of-age as a fruitloop in the family tradition is a joy to read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 152 Date: September 2010
Publisher: Gecko
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1877467588

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Simone is not happy. Her mother, a flaky artist with a peculiar sartorial bent, has forgotten her daughter's twelfth birthday and Simone has had to make her own cake. And that's only the beginning. They've also had to move away from school and friends to a house outside town. Hmph. The house belongs to Ingvar, Simone's mother's nerdy and hypochondriac new boyfriend. He's a pain. In the confusion of the move, Kilroy, Simone's beloved dog, has been left behind. Nobody can find him. And as if all this weren't enough, Grandpa has run away from the care home and turned up at the door, wearing high-heeled boots and not a lot else.

So, when Simone shows up for her first day at her new school and the teacher mistakes her for a boy, Simone simply throws up her hands and submits. If people think she's a boy, why shouldn't she simply become a boy? She's good at insults - toad face, rat piss, skunk bum - and at fighting too, thanks to Grandpa. Life as a boy can't be all that difficult, can it?

That's what Simone thinks. Cue lost ducks, shower room frenzies, stolen handbags, fending off potential girlfriends and trouble at school. Simone quickly discovers that life is exactly as Grandpa has described it: full of fruitloops and dipsticks. And the dipsticks (everyday people) have a great deal of trouble understanding the fruitloops (people like Simone).

Fruitloops and Dipsticks is funny and heartwarming and has an unmistakable Scandinavian flavour: what British writer for tweens would mention erections in a perfectly natural way? Or girl-on-girl kissing-with-tongues - even if it is a comedy of manners? We Brits have such a schizophrenic way with these things, don't we? On the one hand, we sell boob tubes and glitter make-up to six-year-olds, and on the other, we have forty fits and die quiet about sex and violence in media. It's a shame. Anyway. There's nothing here to frighten even British horses, I'm just a-sayin'.

There's a lot of humour in this short little book. There's a great deal of pathos too - the missing dog, Grandpa's grief and his illness, too. There's also a wonderful dollop of kindness. Simone's coming-of-age as a fruitloop in the family tradition is a joy to read and a celebration of uniqueness - not just Simone's, but yours and mine too.

I loved it.

My thanks to the good people at Gecko Press for sending the book.

Other, slightly fruitloopy, books are Someday Angeline by Louis Sachar and Eggs by Jerry Spinelli.

Buy Fruitloops and Dipsticks by Ulf Stark at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Fruitloops and Dipsticks by Ulf Stark at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Fruitloops and Dipsticks by Ulf Stark at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Fruitloops and Dipsticks by Ulf Stark at Amazon.com.


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