Pongwiffy Back on Track by Kaye Umansky

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Pongwiffy Back on Track by Kaye Umansky

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: A delightfully disgusting romp through the magical Witchway Wood, with plenty of jokes to entertain both young and old.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 240 Date: May 2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 978-0747596943

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This is the seventh book about Pongwiffy, the dirty, rather smelly witch who always gets herself into escapades. Here we find that Pongwiffy and the other witches have all become obsessed with sweets from the new sweet shop in Witchway Wood. In fact, all the wood's many inhabitants, such as skeletons and vampires and werewolves, have all become obsessed with buying sweets from Sugary Candy's. They spend all their money buying the outrageously overpriced delicacies such as Hoppy Jumpers, Bog Bars and Minty Stingeroos, and then slump at home in front of the spellovision to eat them. Because of this everyone is becoming very lethargic, overweight and many are suffering from toothache and stomach ache. Pongwiffy begins to realise one day, after being terribly sick from too many sweets, that she simply cannot carry on in this way and so she devises a plan that will get all the inhabitants of the wood fit and healthy again. She decides that they will host The O'Lumpicks, and it will be a sporting event that includes everyone with no cheating or magic allowed...

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, even though I hadn't read the other Pongwiffy books. The author helpfully explains who various characters are throughout the story, so I never felt confused. It's full of funnily named characters such as the witch Bendyshanks and her familiar, Slithering Steve, or the two Yetis who run the sweet shop who are called Spag Yeti and Conf Yeti! There are pictures of all the witches and their familiars at the start of the book, and other black and white illustrations throughout that help the story along.

The idea of everyone trying to get fit for their own Olympic games is a funny one and provides plenty of entertainment. However, I grew particularly fond of Plugugly the Goblin and his little back story that runs throughout the book. After stumbling upon the new sweet shop in the wood he becomes obsessed with getting enough money to go and buy himself lots of sweeties. He ends up going in disguise and taking a job as a Nanny to a baby giant. I love how the Giant family all talk IN CAPITAL LETTERS, because they're so loud, obviously, and I enjoyed the story of Plugugly really throwing himself into the role of Nanny Susan, and seeing his growing bond with Philpot, the baby giant.

I struggled a little to hear Hugo the Hamster's accent initially, but once I realised he was from Hamsterdam I had a better idea. All the different characters would make this a fun story to read aloud with children, and parents with a dramatic leaning could really get their teeth into playing multiple characters with various different accents. Each chapter is reasonably short, enough for a bedtime read or to give a confident reader who is reading it alone the sense that they're progressing well through the story. I'd definitely recommend it for older primary school aged children to read themselves, and I think parents would enjoy it too at bedtimes thanks to the humour that runs throughout the book.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag. We also have a review of The Pongwiffy Stories 1: A Witch of Dirty Habits and The Goblins' Revenge and Tales From Witchway Wood: Crash 'n' Bang, both by Kaye Umansky.

If this book appeals then we think that you'll enjoy The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett.

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Buy Pongwiffy Back on Track by Kaye Umansky at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Pongwiffy Back on Track by Kaye Umansky at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Pongwiffy Back on Track by Kaye Umansky at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Pongwiffy Back on Track by Kaye Umansky at Amazon.com.


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