Friday, 16 July 2010

Tell me what you read | Vamoose, Mr Gum and Not the End of the World

It's been a good few weeks reading-wise and I've managed to do some (marginal) damage to my mountain of 'To Read' books. Among which...
Andy Stanton and his crazy cast of characters are back and in splendid form in this seventh instalment. Mr Gum himself is as abominable as ever, Billy Williams the Third makes a fantastic centaur and there's a sulking aphid called Penelope. Some very good laughs and very good lines (plus a goblin burp duet of ineffable quality). Yet, I still think Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear (Book 5) trumps it, because its plot is stronger.

About a million light-years away from Lamonic Bibber... Not the End of the World is another incredible performance from Geraldine McCaughrean. It's intense, it's superbly written, the concert of voices (human and animal voices) works wonders and the whole thing brings home a few truths about what it is to be human and, you know, what life is all about. And all that with buckets of modesty. McCaughrean is a craftswoman who knows how to polish her prose and tell a cracking good story. More!

And now for something totally off the wall. Vamoose is published by Puffin in their new Pocket Money Puffins series, which means it's a short piece, made shorter still by the addition of two extracts from other books by Meg Rosoff. That said, Vamoose is just hilarious. I was giggling under the blankets as I read it and got a few grumpy grunts and kicks from Persons Unnamed as a result, but it was worth it. Rosoff's strength in this one is in what remains unsaid, so I won't even give you a plot description. You'll just have to read it.

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