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The Bolds by Julian Clary and David Roberts

Longlisted for the 2016 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal

The Bolds by Julian Clary and David Roberts

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Anne Thompson
Reviewed by Anne Thompson
Summary: At times hilarious and yet also kind-hearted this entertaining book combines an enjoyable story with fabulous illustrations in a perfect package for young readers.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 272 Date: July 2015
Publisher: Andersen Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1783443055

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Longlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2016

The Bolds, Mr and Mrs and their two small children, live in an ordinary semi-detached house in suburban Teddington. They have jobs; Mrs Bold designs and sells flamboyant hats and Mr Bold writes jokes for Christmas crackers. But they are most definitely not an ordinary family. Oh no! They are in fact hyenas. So far they have managed to successfully pretend to be human beings. Although very hairy and prone to laughing a lot they have kept the truth (and their tails!) a secret from everyone. But their grumpy next-door neighbour, Mr McNumpty, is growing suspicious and then a trip to the local safari park has repercussions. Will the Bolds' carefully long-kept secret be revealed?

When a celebrity, the basis of whose fame may be regarded somewhat at odds with children's fiction, announces that he is to write a children's book you may well wonder what to expect. I am delighted to say that I think that Julian Clary, self-styled national trinket has produced an absolute gem of a book. At times laugh-out-loud funny this very enjoyable story also gently pokes fun at humans' superior attitude towards animals. As the author demonstrates, animals can be very intelligent but their intelligence may manifest itself in a different way to our own. It also has an underlying theme of tolerance and acceptance of those who may be a little different.

From the opening pages when we are assured that this story is absolutely true…every word this jolly story zips along in chapters of manageable length for younger readers. The overall look of the book is very appealing and this is largely due to the wonderful illustrations by David Roberts. The recent growth in highly illustrated fiction for the younger age group works so well at engaging readers. So often I watch children open a book that they probably could manage but they are then put off by dense text on every page. The Bolds has an illustration on most pages and the text is spaced out and different fonts used to emphasise and entertain.

The writing is hilarious and very conversational in style; at times I felt I was listening to Julian Clary and I confess that added to my enjoyment. There is a combination of wit, a smattering of toilet humour, Christmas cracker jokes to make you groan and of course adventure in this story which should prove popular with readers of about seven upwards. This would be an absolute joy to read aloud to children who could not quite manage the book independently too. I believe there is to be a sequel and maybe even a series. Hurrah!

Thank you to the publishers, Andersen Press, for sending this copy to the Bookbag.

For more from David Roberts, have a look at My Burptastic Body Book (Dirty Bertie). Young readers who enjoy this story may also like the Mr Gum series the first of which is You're a Bad Man, Mr Gum! by Andy Stanton David Roberts has illustrated many children's books and I particularly enjoyed Operation Bunny - Wings & Co by Sally Gardner written for a similar age group. Adults might enjoy Briefs Encountered by Julian Clary.

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Buy The Bolds by Julian Clary and David Roberts at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Bolds by Julian Clary and David Roberts at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Bolds by Julian Clary and David Roberts at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Bolds by Julian Clary and David Roberts at


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