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

Monday 7 September 2015

Review: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School

We know - all too well - the story of the dog eating our homework. It's amazing how many dogs have a taste for such things. And we all know the fires and floods and tornadoes that have prevented us from getting to school (or work!) on time.

But in this quirky picture book, the King of Quirk, Davide Cali, takes it up a notch, with a series of excuses by an overslept boy, and a teacher who spends a heck of a lot of time raising her eyebrows at each and every one.

First it's the giant ants that stole his breakfast. Then it's an attack by some evil ninjas. Soon after is a series of vanquishing majorettes, a massive ape who mistakes the school bus for a banana and a quiet seizure by mysterious mole people.

And that's just the beginning.

Interjecting along the way, the teacher makes it clear the lad's story is a little bit hard to believe - but could he actually, really, truly be telling the truth?

What I love about Cali's work is his refusal to dumb things down for his readers. Using sophisticated language and concepts, he takes readers on a journey of fantastical fun that will elicit plenty an exuberant page-turn.

Benjamin Chaud's illustrations are masterful in their colour palette, as always, and his clever blending of both quirk and classic design elements.

Great fun.

Title: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School
Author: Davide Cali
Illustrator: Benjamin Chaud
Publisher: Chronicle, $22.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1 January 2015
Format: Hard cover, small
ISBN: 9781452131689
For ages: 5 - 10
Type: Picture Book