Funny Kid Belly Flop
ABC Books, 2020
272pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99
I have a confession to make. Sometimes when I’m in the children’s book section I earwig on conversations, particularly those about what book to choose. Truly, it’s because I want to hear what kids are choosing for themselves but sometimes I find myself joining in and making recommendations, particularly if it is a perplexed parent or grandparent. Last Saturday was one such occasion when a mum wanted something for her newly independent reader who was just stepping out into novels and liked “funny stuff.” So I reached for Matt Stanton and said that she wouldn’t go wrong because everything he writes is funny. Whether it’s a picture book or a novel, Stanton’s philosophy is “books inspire the imagination, imagination births creativity and creativity changes the world” and so he deliberately sets out to engage the reader in something they can relate to and enjoy.
This is #8 in this series about Max, his friends and family and his duck. Despite having 250+ pages, it is one for newly independent readers who are ready to tackle something a bit meatier but still with the support of short chapters and plenty of graphics, which showcase Stanton’s talent as a cartoonist as well as a writer. This time max and his mate Abby, who seldom agree, are determined that the upcoming swimming carnival has to be cancelled – Max because he doesn’t want to appear half-naked in front of an audience; Abby because she would rather train for the online maths Olympiad. So when these two, who are usually at each other’s throats, team up, there can only be one outcome – fun and laughter.
Our students may be disappointed to see the school year end as they head for summer holidays and missing their mates but at least with authors like Matt Stanton on our team we can keep them reading and looking forward to the new year which will come quickly enough. I’m sure the person who was getting the book I recommended will be on the look out for the others in the series.