A totally silly adventure that gets sillier and sillier the more you read. Children will love discovering the world of Spangles McNasty.
Spangles McNasty is nasty to everyone and everything. There is only one thing that Spangles likes more than being nasty, and that’s stealing spangly things: shiny, sparkly, glittery things. Things, for example, like goldfish. That’s why Spangles McNasty and his friend, Sausage-face Pete, hatch a plan to steal every goldfish they can find. But they don’t just want to steal the goldfish – they want to melt them down because Spangles thinks they’re made of real gold. He thinks it’s a quick way to get rich. Luckily local boy, Freddie Taylor, also wants a goldfish (his Mum says she will consider letting him have a dog if he can prove he can look after a goldfish) and he’s determined to find the fishy thieves.
As should be clear from this brief summary, this is a totally silly adventure. It gets sillier and sillier the more you read. And every time you think it’s as silly as it can possibly get, author, Steve Webb, introduces a new character or scenario that’s even more ludicrous.
Indeed, young Freddie Taylor is just about the only normal character in the book. First we have the evil baddies: Spangles McNasty himself (who eats cold chips from bins, shouts at babies, and loves to fart in libraries) and Sausage-face Pete (who wears a bushy beard attached to his hat with elastic). Then we have our heroes: Freddie is joined by fortune teller Horatio (who can see into the past and believes it is possible to Jet Ski to the future) and ancient Wendy McKenzie (the funfair’s oldest trader who is famous for her shock of pink hair). And, finally, we have the local people who simply get caught up in the chase: Mayor Jackson and his secretary Marjory (who’s terrified of haunted food) and lighthouse keeper Philip Go-Lightly (who hasn’t spoken to anyone for fifty years).
While the characters and story are both incredibly silly, there is a story with a clear beginning, middle and end. The climax when our heroes confront the baddies is fun and I particularly loved how Wendy uses her portable candyfloss machine to ensure Spangles McNasty and Sausage-face Pete meet a truly sticky end.
While I enjoyed this story, I enjoyed looking at the illustrations even more. Chris Mould’s cartoons are absolutely superb and really bring the characters to life. Spangles McNasty looks like a used car salesman and I particularly loved the pictures of our heroes all squeezed on the Jet Ski as they take up the chase and the changing expressions in the pictures of Philip Go-Lightly.
If you enjoyed this, why not read another, slightly more sensible, book with Chris Mould’s wonderful illustrations. I loved A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig. Or for something almost equally silly, I’d recommend Pugs of the Frozen North by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre.
Date: May 2016
Publisher: Andersen Press
Author’s Website: Steve Webb
Review first published on The Bookbag