Tag Archives: David Walliams

Fizzlebert Stump : The boy who ran away from the circus (and joined the library!)

fizzlebert

Fizzlebert Stump : the boy who ran away from the circus (and joined the library) by A.F. Harrold, Published by Bloomsbury, 2012.

From the publisher:

‘There are many boys in the world, all slightly different from one another, and most of them are referred to by names. These are often John or Jack or Desmond, but sometimes they are James or Philip or Simon. Once, and once only, there was a boy whose name was Fizzlebert.’

Fizzlebert Stump lives in a travelling circus. But although he gets to hang around with acrobats, play the fool with clowns, and put his head in a lion’s mouth every night, he’s the only kid there – and he’s bored. But then Fizz decides to join a library, and life suddenly gets a lot more exciting, when a simple library card application leads to him being kidnapped by a pair of crazed pensioners! Will he ever see the circus again?

A story of a boy, a book, some very bad people, some very brave deeds, and the importance of rubber teeth for lions.

What do I think about this book?:

The title is a bit of a misnomer, as Fizzlebert doesn’t intentionally set out to run away from the circus and join the library, rather he is kidnapped after trying to return a library book he found. Even so, this is funny in a typically English sort of way and it’s the very type of book I need in my library for all those year 3/4 readers who enjoy Andy Stanton (Mr Gum), or David Walliams (Gangsta Granny, Billionaire Boy, Ratburger) or Philip Ardagh (The Grunts). The quirky illustrations break up the text nicely and the chapters aren’t too long. Unlike some other reviewers, I like the way the author makes little comments to the reader at the chapter’s end about what just happened and what is possibly coming up next – I think it makes the reader feel as though the book was written with just them in mind! Very engaging and good for some reluctant readers and also those quirky children who don’t always feel they fit in. Age 7+.

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Gangsta Granny

gangstagranny

Gangsta granny by David Walliams, Published by Harper Collins Children’s, 2011. Illustrated by Tony Ross.

“Meet Ben’s granny. She’s very much your textbook granny: she has white hair, she has false teeth, she has used tissues up her sleeve….and she is an international jewel thief!”

Ben is bored beyond belief after he is made to stay at his grandma’s house. All she wants to do is to play Scrabble, and eat cabbage soup. But there are two things Ben doesn’t know about his grandma: she was once an international jewel thief and she has been plotting to steal the crown jewels. Now she needs Ben’s help.

What do I think about this book?:

I hadn’t read one of David Walliam’s books before so I had no idea what to expect. I did know that he wrote a lot of the “Little Britain” comedy show, but this wasn’t something I particularly enjoyed. David Walliams had also been described “as the next Roald Dahl” – setting the bar very high for comparison. We have a couple of David’s earlier books in our library (Mr Stink and the Billionaire boy) but when my daughter was given this one as a birthday gift I decided to try it.

To say that I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. This is a lovely story, with typical understated British humour but like Roald Dahl, David Walliams is able to get the reader to develop a great deal of empathy towards the characters in the book and the relationships between them. Initially, Ben hates his weekly visits with his granny, this is reinforced by the attitude of his parents who coldy drop him off every Friday night as quickly as possible without even talking to her. Ben gradually comes to see his granny as more than an old person who only seems to like playing scrabble and reeking of cabbage. There are sad moments in this book that will make many children and adults reflect on our relationship with the elderly today, but plenty of happy moments that remind us how we should value the special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. This book is recommended for 9+. This author and his wonderful picks are a good mix with Andy Stanton (Mr Gum), Philip Ardagh (The Grunts) and Jeremy Strong (Various).

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