The Odds by Adam Perrott is a wonderfully funny transitional book for children, boys and girls, aged between six and ten, although as I have been reading it to my children, it has been keeping my fourteen year old pretty amused as well.
The Odds are a family of professional pranksters. Every town has a family who are responsible for all the odd accidents you have, the bizarre things that happen to you and the fact that you can never find your keys when you know you put them down in that exact spot.
The Odds don’t just play jokes on you, they play jokes on everyone, including each other. Even their dog, Bob, is a prankster, although these days he prefers to spend his time snoozing under the kitchen table.
The book describes a typical day in the life of a prankster, interspersed with tips and messages from the big pranking bible. It is very, very silly indeed, and my children were giggling out loud at some of the jokes the characters play on each other and everyone else.
The dramatic tension comes when Mr. Odd goes to suss out a new, super rich couple who have arrived in the town, and who might be ripe for having some spectacularly silly pranks played upon them. When the first of his tricks goes sour, Mr. Odd gets suspicious and after an entire morning’s worth of jokes fail to reach their target Mr. Odd knows something is very wrong.
Will this couple beat the Odds? Or will the Odds find a way to restore the natural balance in their topsy turvy world?
This book is kind of a cross between Roddy Doyle’s ‘The Giggler Treatment’ and Andy Stanton’s Mr. Gum books. It has the same playful, creative, funny way with words and phrases as Mr. Gum, and some equally unpleasant characters, all of whom will delight children. It has the same sense of revelling in tricks played upon unsuspecting members of the public as The Giggler Treatment, but pulls both these story telling strands together in a delightfully refreshing way.
There are some fine black and white illustrations throughout, which complement and add enjoyment to the text.
It is short enough to be excellent as a guided reading book in class, or just a book the teacher can read to the class for the sheer entertainment value. It’s a nice, easy read for newly confident readers, and an enjoyably short romp for slightly older readers who might not want to take on anything too meaty.
As a book you might want to read out loud to children I recommend it for children aged from four upwards. I particularly enjoyed reading it as there are lots of lovely characters you can add suitably silly voices to, and lots of jokes that although children might find funny, adults may find funnier. I am really enjoying reading it to the children.
I read it myself in an hour, and am already half way through it with the children despite only having started reading it to them yesterday. This is mainly due to the fact they keep begging for the next chapter. Always a good sign.