Trick Eggs and Rubber Chickens: Grubtown Tales by Philip Ardagh

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Trick Eggs and Rubber Chickens: Grubtown Tales by Philip Ardagh

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A further silly – but very inventive – tale from the wacky Grubtown corner of the world, involving sealife, and woollen buildings. Of course.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 144 Date: May 2010
Publisher: Faber Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0571247936

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If you haven't been to Grubtown before, then feel welcome. As newly arrived lorry driver John Jones finds out, it's a place of exceedingly silly names for people – Blue-Ridge Handheld my favourite so far – and exceedingly silly things happening for exceedingly silly reasons. One of those silly things is John Jones arriving into town with a giant octopus on the back of his lorry – a real, live one, destined for the brand new aquarium and carwash. Another, coinciding, silly thing, is the mayor having a huge festival day for the opening of his new home, which he has just finished knitting.

Chances are you will be on the side of John Jones in not having a clue what on earth is going to happen, whether you are new to Grubtown or not. It's one of the smaller charms of this series that we knew the mayor was knitting a new home for himself out of any wool he could find, but if this is your first book in this series that won't matter one bit.

You will find, for the first or fifth time, the two good friends, Mango and Jilly, and their place in things. You will be befuddled by the innumerable silly names, which will make the glossary of dramatis personae at the back more popular once again. But you will also be more than merry in joining Beardy Ardagh along for his tale of silliness.

Once again it's a measured, controlled silliness, however many strange animals, men emerging from the beach and more are encountered. You might feel as I did that a third sub-plot gets crammed into things too close to the end and doesn't do a heck of a lot, but the charms of these books are that the story and the telling are just a jumbled mess of invention. We get more visits from the town mascot pelicans, more Ardagh music journalism (with the new genre of music, bwee-bwee, for us all to imagine), lists of the benefits of ducks, and more.

The books in this series are slight, and they are a little slapdash, but they only provide the reader with a warm smile and a happy experience. The under tens will not be alone in taking these books off the shelf. And well done Beardy Ardagh's parents for giving him a surname so close to the beginning of the alphabet. File your child's books in the suitable alphabetical order, and you'll find those beginning B and beyond feeling slightly neglected, as his joyful wackiness gets revisited quite often.

I must thank Faber's kind people for my review copy.

I first met the residents of Grubtown in The Wrong End of the Dog. For evidence of Beardy Ardagh making frivolity out of next to nothing, you will enjoy his The Scandalous Life of the Lawless Sisters.

Buy Trick Eggs and Rubber Chickens: Grubtown Tales by Philip Ardagh at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Trick Eggs and Rubber Chickens: Grubtown Tales by Philip Ardagh at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Trick Eggs and Rubber Chickens: Grubtown Tales by Philip Ardagh at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Trick Eggs and Rubber Chickens: Grubtown Tales by Philip Ardagh at Amazon.com.


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