'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Review: Bumface

Angus Solomon is a parent well before his time. Both big brother and dad to kid brother Leo and baby sister Imogen, Angus has some seriously tied-up and tangled apron-string issues going on.

While his famous soap opera mother absconds to the television set 20 hours a day, Angus is trying to get ahead at school, wants to secure a role in the school play, needs to take care of some irksome nappy changes and is also called upon to balance his relationship with three - soon to be four - fathers.

He's not yet even a full-blown teen - and with a bunch of clueless adults and a totally unreasonable teacher around him - things aren't looking good for... er... the rest of his life.

The shenanigans that follow Angus as he attempts to stop his mother's rampant ovaries from sending out heat signals to Potential Husband Number Four are brilliantly penned by Morris the Master. Kooky, plot-driven, character-saturated and very funny - I galloped along (as did my 10-year-old daughter) with Bumface, oftentimes torn between the hilarity and the very real issues facing this young lad - that pull tenderly at the heartstrings in a way only Gleitzman knows how to pen.

This virtual playing of the heartstrings is exacerbated by the arrival of a second central character - a 'pirate' named Rindi - who is soon to be married off to a much older man, in an arranged marriage in India. Angus has the responsibilities of an grown-up as it is - surely he can utilise his adult experience to ensure young Rindi escapes a nuptial fate worse than the fullest of baby nappies.

Gleitzman weaves a delectable plot full of angst and drama for his characters that's gorgeous interspersed by my favourite character of all - one-year-old Imogen - who has an hilarious propensity to verbalise the words 'bumface' and 'gussy' at regular laugh-aloud intervals.

It's no wonder this book has been a bestseller amongst older junior fiction readers. Great fun - with a subtle yet heartfelt message that kids will absorb as fast as Imogen's nappies.

Title: Bumface
Author: Morris Gleitzman
Publisher: Penguin, A$16.95RRP
Publication Date: 1 August 1998
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780140387971
For ages: 9+
Type: Junior Fiction

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