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Stinkbomb & Ketcup-Face and the Evilness of Pizza by John Dougherty was sent to me for review by Amazon Vine in exchange for my honest opinion.


And what is my honest opinion, I hear you cry?

Well, firstly I chose it because the illustrator for the book is Dave Tazzyman, of Mr. Gum fame, and we love Mr. Gum and Dave Tazzyman in this house, and we are sad that Andy Stanton hasn’t written any more Mr. Gum books for us to read, so I rather hoped this would be an acceptable substitute.

In many ways, it is. As an adult reader I found it rather derivative, and kept thinking of the fact that probably Andy Stanton would have done it slightly better. On the other hand, John Dougherty does a very fine job of writing a short, funny novel with lots of elements in it that will really appeal to children and make them laugh. And they won’t be thinking about comparing it to Mr. Gum, so that’s alright.

This is the third in the series about a boy called Stinkbomb and his sister called Ketchup-Face who live on Ye Isle of Great Kerfuffle with a lot of slightly evil badgers, a deranged king who rather reminded me of Bob Fossil from The Mighty Boosh (which pleased me), a talking shopping trolley and a cat who is in charge of island wide security. Oh, and I mustn’t forget the ninja librarian, because she’s very cool.

In this book, Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face are summoned to the palace and enlisted in the Kerfuffle secret service, in order to find out what has happened to the badgers, who have broken out of jail.

The badgers, it transpires, have found the lost pizza mines of Kerfuffle and are making their fortune with a takeaway pizza business, which would all be fine, were it not for the fact that their extensive mining activity threatens to ruin the library and tip the whole island into the sea.

The book is hugely silly. There are some brilliant touches. I particularly like all the badges the badgers wear. I loved the character of the king, and the librarian, and I think children will delight in these surreal and bonkers stories.

The book is short, much the same length and layout as a Mr. Gum novel, in fact. The illustrations are a joy, and I feel that when my son has read this I will be required to go and hunt out the other two books in the series asap.

Highly recommended for boys and girls aged seven and up, and as a great bed time story for fives and up.