Of course the character Mr Gum is completely awful and already picking his nose and eating it by the second page. His favourite TV show is Bag of Sticks, which is a show about a Bag of Sticks.
Mr Gum is not the only interesting character in this tale. All the characters in the book are odd with their silly names and their silly ways of speaking. Wait till you meet Peter the girl, Martin Launderette, who ran the Launderette and Billy William, who speaks ‘funty’.
Author Andy Stanton is great with word play, which makes the writing so original. ‘Mr Gum doubled up in pain and tripled in fear,’ and ‘The words got stuck in his throat. They tasted horrible.’ In chapter four, Mr Gum has a cup of tea. And that is it. There is just the one sentence in chapter four.
Readers will feel quite involved in the fast-paced, crazy plot because the author really includes them. He comments, ‘Actually, I think we’d better have a new chapter,’ and ‘you will have to wait till chapter seven to find out. That is what is known as suspense.’
The plot is all about Mr Gum taking a dislike to a dog because it messes up his garden. If Mr Gum’s garden is untidy, he gets hit on the head by a fairy. So Mr Gum tries to poison the dog. But don’t worry, there are plenty of heroes to save the dog.
There is a lot of white space on the page, breaking up the text and making this an easy read. I know it’s a huge thing to say, but I think this author has written a story as enjoyable as any Roald Dahl. There, I’ve said it. So obviously, I was very impressed. I would highly recommend Mr Gum for the eight to ten year olds.
Title: You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum (Mr Gum #1)
Author: Andy Stanton
Illustrator: David Tazzyman
Publisher: Egmont, $12.95 RRP
Publication Date: Re-issue June 2013 (2006)
For ages: 8 – 10
Type: Junior Fiction