Showing posts with label Andrew Daddo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Andrew Daddo. Show all posts

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

A Lot of Stuff Happens

A Lot of Stuff Happens by Adrian Beck, Oliver Phommavanh, Will Kostakis and Andrew Daddo (Penguin Random House) PB RRP $19.99 ISBN9780143794752

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Here is a collection of four books in one from some of Australia’s best-known contemporary males writing for children. The book is divided into four sections titled, ‘Dale’, ‘Ned’, ‘Sean’ and ‘Ethan’. Dale, for example, is written by TV producer Adrian Beck and begins with the words, ‘Press-studs are evil’. When you read the sentence below which contains the words ‘I once had a pair of pants with an unreliable press-stud fly’, you know to prepare for something humorous to happen.
Each of the four boys attend Monvale Primary where everyday stuff happens, such as friendships, ghost stories, the school play, disappearing hamburgers, new teachers, singing monkeys and lions, the first day at school, flags made of underwear, living up to older brothers and sisters, warring dinosaurs. Stuff that happens all the time!
The stories are related in first-person and are written in easy-to-access, informal language that demonstrates lots of wit and good humour. There’s action a-plenty in this fast-paced book which is sure to be a hit with readers aged 8 to 11 years.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

My Life and Other Stuff I Made Up

My Life and Other Stuff I Made Up by Tristan Bancks and illustrated by Gus Gordon (Random House)
PB RRP $15.95
ISBN 978-1-8647-1817-1  
Reviewed by Oliver Phommavanh

My Life and Other Stuff I Made Up is a collection of short stories for younger readers. These bite-sized bursts of fun are inspired by Paul Jennings, Andrew Daddo and Andy Griffiths, the sort of stories that will keep kids enthralled and wondering if it really happened or not.

Tom Weekly is just your normal kid with a wacky life. This collection kicks off with his pet dog that is constantly getting kissed by a weird dog lover. Bancks just keeps upping the zaniness and laughs from there. Tom takes part in a hot dog competition, dared to eat vegemite off his sister’s toe and gets attacked by magpies. Kids will be able to relate to that for sure! In fact, kids will find a part of themselves in Tom, who always finds himself in all sort of weird situations. My personal favourite is to see who has the toughest nan. When his nan and his mate’s nan battle, it reads like a wrestling match.   

Bancks is joined by Gus Gordon, who provides some illustrations to flesh out Bancks’ out-there descriptions. They’re a reliable combination to deliver laughs on each page. The notebook layout will inspire kids to write out their own fantastic tales.

My Life and Other Stuff I Made Up has been tried and tested by Bancks. There are some amusing lists and answers from kids on his school visits. He has tapped into a kid’s curiosity and runaway imagination with these short stories. They’re easy to devour and perfect for reading out loud.      

My Life and Other Stuff I Made Up is highly recommended for ages 9 and up. 

Sunday, 29 August 2010


Monster by Andrew Daddo, illustrated by Bruce Whatley (ABC Books)

HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 9780733322754
Reviewed by Tracey Slater

A little boy cannot go to sleep because of the monster in his bedroom. He calls out to his parents repeatedly and they answer with unsympathetic wisecracks and sarcasm. When the parents eventually order the boy into his bunk bed, both he and the monster drift off to sleep together.

Andrew Daddo has given us an unusual take on the ‘monster story’. The tone is humorous including some very light gross out humour, which is unlikely to offend the preschoolers out there.

Bruce Whatley has made the monster a sweet, timid, gummy creature with an under bite - not exactly a threat to children. The illustrations greatly enhance the text, adding a touch of ambiguity to the tale. The boy and the monster mirror each other throughout, so that in the end one is a little unsure whether the boy is actually the monster, or whether the boy is imagining that his sibling is a monster or whether the little boy is with a real monster- it’s somewhat open to interpretation.

There is a question of whether a preschool or early schoolchild would be comfortable with the ambiguous content, or whether they would ‘get’ the parental sarcasm. These aspects seem to tip the story towards a slightly older readership than probably intended. Overall, Monster is a sweet tale, setting out to prove that not all monsters are scary.