Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face and the Badness of Badgers by John Dougherty

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Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face and the Badness of Badgers by John Dougherty

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: These kinds of books have been doing the rounds so long now they're starting to show how hit and miss they can be. This is very much a hit.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: January 2014
Publisher: OUP
ISBN: 9780192734495

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It's a good day, unless you're a young girl called Ketchup-Face, who doesn't like being rudely woken up by happy birds singing outside her window. It's a good day, unless you're a young boy called Stinkbomb who's just been woken up by his sister jumping on him. It's a good day until they find a piggy bank raided, and can only assume the thieves were badgers – the clue is in the 'bad' bit. So they go off to meet the king, and a song gets sung, and a major crime-busting task-force is formed, and someone eats an elephant. Yes, it's a good day.

It's always a good day when you find another Mr Gum styled book that almost hits the mark of the original. I know, it's not Andy Stanton's fault that he was so completely influential and that half the new series for young children try to rip him off. It's not the fault of many authors that they find themselves drawn to mimicry, and never quite get there. It's not the fault of publishers either – although sometimes they could do more to create an individual stamp, and try and get away from the format. This lot even use the same illustrator. But the great thing is that the first book in this cycle is almost as good quality.

Here we have the island of Great Kerfuffle (sawn off of Cornwall when the King at the time was just getting in the way), instead of Lamonic Bibber. We don't have nearly as many individualistic townspeople, but we do have Eric, who defies introduction, a brilliantly playful cat, the stupid King, and more baddies than you can shake a stick at (well, more than the narrator can be bothered giving names to). And while the book does a lot of what the other franchises have been doing for several years now – dynamic, wacky fonts, bits done in the dark being in white on black paper, the obligatory song – this is all done with a fondness and intelligence to put just enough of a unique stamp on things.

Yes, not only do we actually get the sheet music for the song, we get a firmly crafted sense of humour that does have some of the wordplay of Beardy Ardagh's fiction books, some of the self-knowing archness of Andy Stanton and other elements, but also enough of a voice to make this a series to watch. It's even sly enough to promise the return of the badgers – halfway through book three. I for one won't want to have to wait that long, but will happily make a Great Kerfuffle in the race to get the other books as soon as possible.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

Buy Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face and the Badness of Badgers by John Dougherty at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face and the Badness of Badgers by John Dougherty at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face and the Badness of Badgers by John Dougherty at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face and the Badness of Badgers by John Dougherty at Amazon.com.


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