#BookReview: Julius Zebra Bundle with the Britons by Gary Northfield #MPBooks

A very funny book middle grade/kids book which any age may enjoy.

Julius Zebra Bundle with the Britons book coverTitle: Julius Zebra: Bundle with the Britons

Author/Illustrator: Gary Northfield

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Middle Grade/Children’s, Humour

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Description: So you think you know about Julius Zebra do you!
He’s handsone.  He’s the people’s champion of the Roman gladiator world!  He’s off on his jolly holibobs with his besties…
Emperor Hadrian has one last task for Julius before he grants his freedom, and it involves a trip to the strand and far-off land of Britannia!

My Review:  ‘We’re off on our holibobs!’ Why on earth that phrase makes me smile I don’t know but it does and I love, LOVE this book! ‘Julius Zebra: Bundle with the Britons’ is the second book in the Julius Zebra series and I just can’t wait to read more!

The story is about Julius, a zebra who is a champion gladiator of Rome. Julius is a bit of a celebrity and the book quickly introduces us to his other animal friends, Felix an antelope, Cornelius a warthog and Lucia a crocodile, to name a few. The story is very funny and Julius and his friends mistakenly think Emperor Hadrian has sent them off on their holibobs (holidays) to the strange land of Britannia but they soon learn the truth about what they are really doing there.

Fun pictures throughout the text.

The story is daft and silly but also very, very funny. I wasn’t sure I was going to get into this book at first, given the strange setting of a few animals walking and talking among the people of Rome but it quickly because an engaging read and the more I read the more I laughed. The book has lots of funny images, in black and white, among the text and for some reason I’m really drawn to the silliness of them. Julius and his friends are quite daft and the whole look of the illustrations just lends to this daft humour.

The story has a satisfying ending but leaves you with an epilogue that sets up the next book in the series which will be ‘Julius Zebra: Entangled with the Egyptians’ which I can’t wait to read. The back of the book has some interesting facts which I really enjoyed and it made me like this book even more. The author explains some of the things that the Romans brought to Britain, not all of them I knew about, but it’s done in a funny way that makes you laugh.
There is also an explanation of how roman numerals work.  It is educational but done in a very fun way with characters from the story explaining how it works. It’s included because this book has the fun added extra of every page number being written in roman numerals instead of the usual digits we use today.
My favourite extra at the end of the book though is Felix’s rock collection. Some of the rocks and their names really made me laugh.

Funny illustrations!

This book will really appeal to kids and older who like something silly but funny. It’s not a complicated story but I really enjoyed reading this and after the recent disappointment of another funny book aimed at kids, which wasn’t for me, I’m glad to say that this book has just the right sense of humour to really put a smile on my face. I can’t wait for the next instalment in the series and am now going to buy the first book ‘Julius Zebra: Rumble with the Romans’ too!
-Thanks to Walker books for a free copy.


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#BookReview: A Singular Baptism by Carlos J. Server #MPBooks

A hilarious contemporary comedy novel that’s out today!

A Singular Baptism book cover
UK book cover

Title: A Singular Baptism

Author: Carlos J. Server

English Translation: Annie Crawford

Genre: Contemporary, Humour

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Description:  Who hasn’t had the opportunity, or rather, the trial, of organizing a large family celebration? Thanks to a peculiar family tradition, LucĂ­a, the protagonist of A Singular Baptism, is tasked with arranging the baptism of her son Argimiro on idyllic El Hierro, the smallest of the Canary Islands. During one frantic weekend, LucĂ­a must deal not only with her husband’s and her own unconventional families, she must also find out if her suspicions about the true identity of her son’s father are correct or merely the result of a simple misunderstanding. With its cast of entertaining characters and everyday situations taken to extremes, A Singular Baptism will leave readers wondering if their families are as outlandish as LucĂ­a’s.

Guaranteed fun. A must-read

My Review:  This is the second book I’ve read by Carlos J. Server and I have to say that he’s done it again! ‘A Singular Baptism’ (the new English translation of the Spanish ‘Un Bautizo Singular’) is one of the funniest books I’ve read this year and worth every one of the five feathers I give it!

Just like in his first book ‘A Lucky Day’ this book is filled with lots of humour but it’s a farcical daft type of humour that would look good in a movie. ‘A Singular Baptism’ takes place over the course of just one day but so much happens and it really is fun to read. The story begins with LucĂ­a and her husband Paco driving frantically to pick up his parents in time from the airport. LucĂ­a and Paco’s son will be baptised the following day but nothing in this story goes to plan and when they get to the church for a rehearsal there are soon question on who the biological father of the baby really is.

This book really is hilarious. I was smiling, laughing and couldn’t stop reading it until the very end. It’s not often that I truly laugh and enjoy a comedy book so much, but something about Server’s writing is exceptional and no matter what I’m just laughing at the ridiculous situations all the characters end up in. The best way to describe the plot is that it’s a farce. It reminds me of the silly humour you find in things like the Carry On films, it’s ridiculous and daft but also a good clean humour which I think many would enjoy reading.

I won’t go into details about what happens in the story but every scene is a moment of comedy. Over the top things happen and the cast of characters in this book really lends to the humour. The whole book is written in the third person but jumps between various characters and locations.  There are a lot of characters involved in the story but each is introduced in a way that makes it easy to grasp who is who and I was never left confused as all the characters are very different and many have extreme personalities. I really enjoyed all of them but the priest was once again a hilarious character in Server’s novel (‘A Lucky day’ also featured a priest). I especially liked the priest’s over the top performance towards the end of the novel!

The story is fast paced and although it’s a novel I could really see this book being turned into a film. The way scenes play out often showing scenes of minor characters who end up affecting the plot in a big way, just makes the whole thing feel like I’m watching a movie, in my head and I love it!  Although the whole book is pure humour there are warmer moments especially towards the end and I found myself smiling not only out of laughter but it also made my heart smile too.  The ending of the book is a satisfying one and I love the deeper message in the story and the quote before the first chapter. The book doesn’t have anything offensive at all and I think it would appeal to anyone who has that silly/daft sense of humour.

I’d really recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a farce.  This really is a brilliant book, well written (extra credit to the translator too) and I just can’t wait for Server’s next work!  I’d also recommend ‘A Lucky Day’ which features the same daft comedy but with a different situation.
-Thanks to the author for a free copy.

 


A Singular Baptism comes out today! (13th June 2017)  You all know how I feel about this book but are you interested in reading it?  Let me know!  Come check me out in these places too đź™‚ : 

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