Overflowing with toilet humour, this is a fun and furry adventure story for young readers.
None of Daniel’s birthday wishes have ever come true. For example, on his seventh birthday he wanted a hoverboard but it didn’t arrive so he was forced to make his own out of a tray and his mum’s hairdryer. Then, on his eighth birthday, he wished for a swimming pool – only he hadn’t exactly thought that through given his family live in a third floor flat. It’s, therefore, hardly surprising that he didn’t expect his wish on his tenth birthday to come true. However, when it does, he very quickly wishes it hadn’t. That’s because he wished he had a guinea pig instead of his stupid show-off younger brother, Fergus, and suddenly Fergus is a small squeaking animal. Luckily, their parents have gone away for the weekend so Dan has a couple of days to find a way of turning his brother back into a human. But where does he start?
This book is being pitched as the first in a hilarious series for 7 to 9 year olds. If I’m honest, the over the top silliness didn’t appeal that much to me. However, I’m not the target audience and I am confident it WILL appeal to a very large percentage of children. In fact, I think many young readers will be hooked from the moment Dan explains why he is glad that the birthday wish on his ninth birthday didn’t come true. (Just as Dan was about to make his wish, Fergus shouted ‘POO FACE’ and that was all Dan could then think about).
Told in first person from Dan’s viewpoint, children are likely to warm to Dan’s easy to read narration and his many, often funny, asides. (His observations about Aunt Tink – particularly her phone password – even managed to make me smile). He’s also the ultimate unreliable narrator. He’s convinced he is in the right and that he is the one who suffers by having such an irritating little brother. However, as he describes various events, I couldn’t help feeling for Fergus. This subtlety may go over the heads of some younger readers but that doesn’t matter since it will allow them to discover along with Dan that, maybe, Fergus isn’t so bad.
The story is accompanied by black and white illustrations, by the author Emily Snape, that a scattered liberally throughout the book. Fergus as a guinea pig undoubtedly steals the show but he does have some stiff competition from the fabulous illustrations of Aunt Tink and a very detailed image of headteacher, Mrs McDoom. I also liked the way the text is underlined, capitalised or printed in bigger words for added emphasis.
If you enjoyed this and would like to read another illustrated guinea pig adventure, you might like to try The Adventures of Harry Stevenson by Ali Pye. For a different type of zany adventure, why not grab yourself a copy of The Legend of Kevin or Kevin’s Great Escape by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre
Publisher: Ransom Publishing
Website: Emily Snape