This week’s Longer Read of the Week is Mr Gum and the Biscuit Billionaire, by Andy Stanton and David Tazzyman, published by Egmont Press.
What it’s about:
There’s this gingerbread man with electric muscles, see? And he’s as rich as a mushroom, right? And Mr Gum and Billy William are plotting to get the cash, yeah? And it’s up to Polly to save the day. And there’s a funfair and hot dogs, and Friday O’Leary shouts out some crazy stuff and…
Each week, I try to read to the Year 3s when they come for their library time. Last term we read The Twits and after that we moved on to the craziness that is Andy Stanton’s Mr Gum series. I LOVED reading these to my daughter – so many opportunities for silly voices and lots of laughter and the Year 3 children seemed to enjoy it too, even if occasionally they became a little lost in Andy Stanton’s surreal humour. Who wouldn’t love the story of a gingerbread man with electric muscles, though? And, with the current demand for strong female leads, Polly does an excellent job, aided by her friends Friday O’Leary (‘The Truth is a Lemon Meringue!’) and Jake the Dog, who annoys Mr Gum by messing up his tidy garden.
Shabba Me Whiskers, but there isn’t a more vile villain than Mr Gum. The children chuckled at his devious plans, assisted by the even more disgusting Billy William the Third. When evil is hilarious, children are entertained and slightly revolted by the idea of Billy Williams’ butcher shop (would not pass the health and hygiene inspections). Reading the Mr Gum series is like stepping into a world that is a cross between The Goon Show and Roald Dahl. With some Monty Python thrown in for good measure.