Agatha Parrot and the Floating Head by Kjartan Poskitt is one of a series of books about Agatha Parrot, a feisty young woman who has a nose for trouble and the ability to think on her feet, which are perfect for transitional readers, or even more confident readers who just want a short, funny book to read. There are lots of illustrations, lots of short chapters and lots of jokes at the expense of adults, particularly teachers. All things guaranteed to hook in the more reluctant readers.
Illustrations to the Agatha Parrot series are by David Tazzyman, perhaps now better known for his work on Andy Stanton’s Mr. Gum series, and he brings the same wicked humour to his illustrations in these books as in the Mr. Gum books.
The Agatha Parrot series are recommended for ages six and upwards, possibly five year olds if you’re happy to read to them. The plot lines are simple, and silly and very straight forward. There are lots of laughs and improbable moments that children will love, and a healthy sense of anarchy and disregard for grown up rules.
They would work equally well for boys and girls, although the characters are predominantly girls. The girls in the books are not really girly girls though, and Agatha is very much a tom boy figure, up for anything and not afraid of authority. Boys may be reluctant to pick up the book because of the cover illustrations, but if they were, say read a chapter in school or as part of family story time, they might well read on and find themselves hooked.
In this story, Agatha has to keep her whole class in school in order to win a coveted trip to see the Egyptian mummy exhibition. All is going well until her friend Martha, who eats anything, eats something so gross that she is too ill to go to school. Agatha is determined that she will get on the school trip and decides to create a fake Martha so good that nobody will notice that Martha is not really there.
I liked the fact that the book is written in Agatha’s words and that she directly addresses the reader. There are lots of random asides and notes to the reader, drawing them into the conspiracy and making them feel as if they are part of the narrative.
My ten year old daughter recommended these books as being well worth reading, and I can’t say I disagree with her.