The Revenge of the Ballybogs by Siobhan Rowden

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The Revenge of the Ballybogs by Siobhan Rowden

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A successful second book in this wacky world of pickles, burps and nasty subterranean bogles.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: February 2013
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 9781407124902

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Not much has changed in Barnaby's world since the first book in this series. His grandmother is still smelly, burpy, purple and a pickler on an industrial scale. Barnaby is at last working alongside her as opposed to hating her, but not everything is running completely smoothly, and Barnaby still doesn't know everything there is to know about his heritage – either the pickle factory he is supposed to inherit, or the bogle blood his unusual background has left him with. These short, dirty, hairy, stinking critters live in a world of their own underneath an unusual nearby bog – when they're not invading people's homes and causing mischief. Once again, however much Barnaby is reluctant to, he is forced to enter their world in an effort to solve a major calamity in his family, but this time without the help of his mother – for someone or something has kidnapped her…

Every factor that made the prior volume such a success is back this time round. The bad taste granny is back, with her horrid chin hair and unusual fondness for nasty food, and her pickling factory that looks like something out of Roald Dahl as designed by Leni Riefenstahl. Anything imaginable, from beetroot to rhino snot, gets pickled in this world, and all serves a purpose either in the weird and wacky human world or the equally weird and wacky bogle world.

This time round the two interact more successfully, if anything, as if memory serves me correctly there is more action underground. More characters from each universe conflict – so much so it can be a little confusing, both in the pell-mell action at the end and in the ever-growing family tree of Barnaby's family. But at times we all just sit back a little and watch Rowden be suitably inventive, and creative in the creepiest manner possible as she provides us with appropriately grim foods, habits and circumstances.

This then is an action adventure fantasy, a Dahlian gross-out for the under-twelves, and at heart a warming little tale of kinship, family and brotherhood. It seems silly of me to review the ending, but I have to say that while it opens up a possibility of a third book it also seems to shut the door on this series, wrapping certain things up most charmingly. I would suggest that the fact this book revisits so much that was here last time round, when it was an engaging meshing and mixture of what was, to be honest, slightly old-hat even then, and concludes in a self-contained manner, means we don't necessarily need a third book. I do have the inkling however that these will be so successful the demand for more will be too relentless. Either way I think I'll be happy, and I was certainly satisfied with this.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

A further weird world with problems for a young hero - literally - can be had with Never Odd Or Even by John Townsend.

Buy The Revenge of the Ballybogs by Siobhan Rowden at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Revenge of the Ballybogs by Siobhan Rowden at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Revenge of the Ballybogs by Siobhan Rowden at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Revenge of the Ballybogs by Siobhan Rowden at Amazon.com.


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