Title: Barking Up the Wrong Tree (Stick & Fetch Investigate)
Author: Philip Ardagh
Illustrator: Elissa Elwick
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s/Middle grade, Humour
Description: Sally Stick and her fellow detective (and best friend) Fetch are surprisingly good at solving unusual cases. the cases may only exist inside their heads, and the clues may not exactly be clues, but that doesn’t stop them!
Description: Best friends Freddy and Sal have accidently started a SPACE WAR with Alan, a grumpy alien brain muncher from Planet Twang. Soon the police, NASA and world leaders are getting involved. Freddy is about to become the MOST FAMOUS KID in his town, for all the wrong reasons…Wolverhampton, we have a PROBLEM.
A few days ago I logged on to Twitter to find a fun hashtag going around. So popular was it that even some publishers were getting in on the action, adding their own ideas to the mix. The hashtag in question was #ChangeAWordRuinABook.
Many of you may have already seen this hashtag and even taken part, but for those of you who don’t know what it is, the idea is to change one word in a book title to give it a different meaning. Some of the results were hilarious and I couldn’t help but come up with a few of my own too. So today, I bring you a fun post, filled with some silly book titles.
Description: Little Penguin has problems: his beak is cold; there’s snow everywhere; the water smells salty; he waddles; he looks the same as everybody else. No – it’s not easy being a penguin!
My Review: This is a funny book but I’m not sure if all kids will enjoy it. ‘Penguin Problems’ is A4 in size and the paperback is very thin. Inside there are thick matt pages filled with colourful illustrations and easy to read text.
The story follows one penguin who wakes up in a bad mood, feeling grumpy about everything. He complains about the cold, he complains about the noise, he complains about the snow and the sun…all he can do is be miserable about everything…until he meets a walrus. I won’t go into the details of what happens but this is a funny book with our penguin character constantly complaining about everything to do with being a penguin and penguin life. The story has been likened to ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens and it’s true that this tale takes on that very twist although with an added funny extra at the end.
The illustrations are what drive the story forward and there’s lots of them and they aren’t all the same. There are lovely close-ups of the penguin on land and I really enjoyed the way the deep sea looked with the creatures there looking very different and almost like a sort of tribal artwork compared to the way the penguins look above ground. I really like the expression on the penguin’s face. Despite the similarity between all other penguins you can see the way he/she expresses, and there’s a general funny feel to all the images, especially when he/she is with all the other penguins calling to family.
Having heard the book compared to ‘A Christmas Carol’ the ending is seemingly predictable but there’s a funny twist that makes you laugh at the end. I think kids would enjoy this book, especially for the fun images and easy to read text, however there is one page of the book which puts a whole two paragraphs in a massive block one page. The text takes up the entire page and although it’s a good piece of text which one of the characters is voicing, I can’t help but think that it could have been broken up with more images. The various things the character points out could have been shown with little images making it easier to read. While this really doesn’t spoil the plot, I’m just not sure kids would be up to reading this massive chunk of text after reading such short sentences elsewhere.
Overall I like this book. I really like the story and the silliness of it and it would be a great book to show kids who might be prone to complaining, especially around Christmastime. It’s not a complex story but it has a great moral story of being happy with what you’ve got. I think adults would enjoy this book just as much, or possibly even more than kids and it might be best to sit with kids and read this book with them (at least the first time), to make sure they understand the large chunk of text. But overall a great and funny book.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.
What do you think of this funny picture book? Would you or someone you know like to read it? Please let me know all your thoughts, I’d love to hear what you think 🙂 You can also find me in these places:
Description: Early one morning, a mouse is gobbled up by a wolf. “Oh Woe!” he cries. “Oh me!” He fears it is the end…until, that is, he meets a duck in the belly of the beast.
My Review: I love this story! It’s funny, a bit silly and ended in a way I didn’t expect. ‘The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse’ is a lovely hardback book around A4 in size and filled with thick matt pages. The book has an additional sleeve making it feel more special. The story is funny, one day a mouse meets a wolf and gets gobbled up. He thinks he is doomed now that he’s inside the belly of the wolf…until he meets a duck who’s already there.
The story is a bit silly but one I really enjoyed. While inside the wolf, the mouse learns that the duck is already living there quite happily. I don’t want to reveal more of the plot as it really would spoil it and the story is a bit short but it’s very funny and put a smile on my face when I read it. The ending is a good one and it’s funny but it wasn’t what I expected when I first started reading this book. I really love the ending twist though and it kind of explains the reason behind a typical wolf trait (at least it gives a humorous reason).
The pictures are what really makes this tale a funny one. I love Klassen’s style of illustrations and there’s just something about the way all the characters look, the way they stare and those eyes, it just makes me laugh every time I see these illustrations. The pictures are all monochrome with just a few pieces of colour here and there but the images are all so clear and easy to see and I think kids and adults will both enjoy this style of illustration.
I really do love this book, the story is so simple, kids will find it easy to understand and I think it’s a book that both kids and adults would enjoy taking a look at. Unlike a previous book I read by Barnett and Klassen called ‘Triangle’ which had a bit of a strange ending, this book’s clever twist is one which makes the whole story more enjoyable and one I’d recommend.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.
What do you think of this book? Have you read any books by this author and illustrator before? Let me know I’d love to hear what you think 🙂 You can also find me in these places:
Description: So you think you know ZEBRAS, do you? They’re handsome, eat lots of grass, and um…are always getting eaten by lions. Let’s face it, they’re a little bit boring and stupid, too. But a tussle with a grumpy gladiator can soon change a zebra…So cheer on our stripy hero, Julius, as he scraps for survival in history’s deadliest theatre: THE COLOSSEUM! Just don’t call him a horse! (or Debra…)
My Review: This book is so hilarious and just so silly but with a brilliant story too! ‘Julius Zebra Rumble with the Romans’ is the first book in the Julius Zebra series with the second and third books being ‘Bundle with the Britons’ and ‘Entangled with the Egyptians’. This book is where the adventures of Julius begins. Having been forced to go to the lake with his mother and his brother Brutus, Julius wants nothing more than to leave the stinky place and go home. But when a stampede of animals runs from the lake Julius finds himself alone, with a very annoying warthog, and together they have to escape both a lion and the Romans who are after them.
I started reading this series from the second book and have really loved it but going back to this first book I was a little worried that I might not find it as funny as the later ones, as sometimes happens when you enter a series in the middle. However I shouldn’t have been worried, this book had me laughing from the first pages ad it’s fun to see how Julius, a zebra from Africa, ends up battling Roman gladiators.
The book is pure humour and a very daft/silly humour which I just love. It has a very British humour, even down to the characters saying things like ‘Cor!’ and it feels like some classic British comedies where there’s a lot of silliness and slapstick involved. The book also has a Horrible Histories feel to it seeing as Julius is a zebra in the times when the Romans were a powerful nation. As the story unfolds there are lots of illustrations to go along with the text. These pictures have to be read along side the text, they make up part of the story and something about this style of book is just so appealing and I really enjoy it.
The illustrations are hilarious and there’s just something I find instantly funny about Julius, his friends and those eyes! Every pictures is silly and I’ll admit I laughed aloud on more than one occasion from the pictures alone! The pictures are all black and white. The ending of the story is a satisfying one, in fact it is my favourite ending of any Julius Zebra book (so far) given what Julius does. The book has a proper conclusion but also an epilogue which leads nicely into the second book ‘Bundle with the Britons’.
One thing I really love about this book is the setting and the fact that it’s a bit of a historical lesson in Romans too. There is a glossary at the back of the book explaining some of the Roman terms and words that you read in the text as well as a fun lesson on how to count in roman Numerals and of course Cornelius is always explaining facts within the story.
I can’t recommend this book enough, and in fact the entire series. I have definitely become a fan of Julius Zebra and can’t wait for every adventure he goes on. It’s a wonderfully funny book which plenty of kids will love, but it’s also a bit educational too. I also think a fair few adults will enjoy this story too.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.
What do you think of this book and the series? Do you enjoy humorous books or do you prefer more serious ones? Talk to me in the comments box below, I love hearing from you 🙂 You can also follow me in these places: