Archie's Unbelievably Freaky Week by Andrew Norriss

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Archie's Unbelievably Freaky Week by Andrew Norriss

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: Seven episodes in the life of the biggest mishap in short trousers, and a wonderful, warm-hearted hit for under-tens.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 128 Date: August 2012
Publisher: David Fickling Books
ISBN: 9780857560117

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Archie Coates has the most amazing talent for trouble, and whatever he does in all innocence, it's other people that suffer. On Monday he ends up with a teacher sitting on him, on Tuesday another one ends up half-naked. Both these and a lot more are shown with all the justification you need - and more humour than you could wish for - in this brilliant little book.

As you can tell it's one mishap after another for a remarkable boy and his friend Cyd. Fires, knife attacks, dangerous animals - health and safety would have a category just for him. But his extraordinary abilities don't stop there - as the week that sees him drive away supply teacher after supply teacher progresses, he even turns into a dog.

Andrew Norriss is another with brilliant talents too. Structured as seven short stories, with a set pattern in beginning and end, the book, however small, burgeons with wacky invention, cleverness - and, as I say, a delightful amount of humour. Never getting too silly, or slapstick, it just hits the mark and moves on, forever sprightly, always believable, and surprising to the end.

It has a weird fixation on ending up minus your clothes, something thankfully not carried over into the excellent illustrations. All the same this freaky week is a charming way for youngsters to spend some time. It's a finely-judged success, and on its way to being my favourite title for the under-tens for quite some time.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

Pizza Cake by Morris Gleitzman has similarly inventive, small tales for small readers, mostly set in and around school.

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