The Toxic Toadburger Conspiracy

toxiccover To date, 14-year old Eddy Tumble’s greatest triumph consisted of scoffing a ‘fat lad’ quarter-pounder in 39 seconds. A truly breathtaking feat which had decimated Graham ‘gobbler’ Griffith’s record by a clear three seconds and a slice of gherkin.

How ironic that only a few weeks later, a rogue roast potato in his windpipe caused Eddy to collapse unceremoniously into a large bowl of lukewarm bread sauce.

Brought back to life by a race of accident-prone aliens, Eddy now finds himself fighting the diabolically deranged owner of Gut Bucket Holdings, Marcellus Guzzle, a bloodthirsty hit-gran, and an unhinged magpie with an unhealthy appetite for inflicting pain.

Death would undoubtedly have been the easier option!

– From the back cover because, let’s face it, I’m not sure I could have written it better!

*****

So one day I was at Half Price Books, perusing the kids books (don’t judge) and came across one of the best TITLES for a book I’d ever seen – The Toxic Toadburger Conspiracy.  Then I looked at the cover and knew I had to own it.  I wasn’t disappointed with my purchase!  This is a damn silly book.

The premise is that a fairly average boy with an iron stomach needs to save the world from this horrible fast food man who has already managed to convince the world that we should be eating toads.  Yuck.  There are also some aliens, a hamster, some penguins (in some.. unexpected colors), various sealife and lots and lots of toads in this book.  Gotta tell you, they should make this into a Broadway play if only for the costumes they’d need!

Now, I dunno about how they work in the UK- where this book is from- but here in the US we don’t kill people in kids books.  Oh, wait, I know how they work in the UK – they *do* kill people in kids books!  Woo hoo!  I’d guess that you’d probably consider this a ‘young adult’ title, but let’s face it – the only people who want to read about toadburgers are kids or adults who frequently indulge their inner child.  Or who are ruled by their inner child.  Or something.  All I’m saying is that this isn’t really going to appeal to the “Gossip Girl” or “Twilight” crowd.  Maybe your 11 year old boy would like this one – as long as you don’t live near crows, toads or psychopathic Grandmas.

Is this the next great YA title?  Nah, it’s from 2005 so it’s obviously not.  But it’s lots of fun and heck, it’s got a great title.  Ha!

The Toxic Toadburger Conspiracy by Ian Hills, 365 pages

Published in: on April 21, 2009 at 8:56 am  Comments (6)  
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Ducklings

ducklings A duckling finds itself away from the flock and needs to get back to his family.  Will the frog help him or will he be subjected to the harsh realities of growing up in this modern world?

*****

I don’t want to give anything away but let’s just say that this entire book is filled with assholes and I found myself explaining some things to Jack that he shouldn’t have to know at such a young age.  Personally, I think that the characters in this book are childish and the overall plot was weak.  Although it did come with a bonus story about a pansy ducking afraid to swim (nice logic there, huh?) so at least you’re likely to get your money’s worth.

I suppose I’d read it again, but I wouldn’t have such high hopes for major developments this time around.

Ducklings, a three minute tale, by Paragon, 18 pages

Published in: on February 28, 2009 at 7:04 pm  Comments (6)  
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The Graveyard Book

graveyardbook The night was dark, the house was silent and the Everyman Jack was walking through with a knife, searching for the last member of the family he’d come to “dispose” of.  Little did he know that Nobody (or ‘Bod’ as he’s affectionately known) has managed to escape to the graveyard up the hill where the inhabitants are glad to take him in and teach them what they know.

And dead people know a lot.  They know how to fade into the shadows and see in the dark and they know of the creepies and crawlies that living people should stay away from.  But they don’t know how to protect him from the outside world and eventually even baby boys grow up.  And it seems like Everyman Jack’s have a long memory…

*****

Yay for kids stories!  Well, yay for Neil Gaiman kids stories!  Because only Gaiman would have a kids story contain more dead people and things than live ones.  I enjoy Gaiman’s work, and while I’m not sure I’d read this to a 3 year old, I’d probably give it to a 6 year old – which may be an indication that I’d be a pretty lousy parent.  I mean, after all, the story starts out with the entire family dying.  On the other hand, I remember having nightmares when I was a kid where my whole family had been captured and we were all on conveyor belts and our heads were bring chopped off.  Isn’t it strange how you always wake up when the blade is coming down on your own head?  But I digress (and it’s okay, I haven’t had that dream in YEARS!) and all I was trying to point out was that it’s pretty obvious that kids have some twisted imaginations.  Or maybe it was just me.

Gaiman has a way of making things that should be creepy, like ghosts and graveyards, into people and places that you’d like to meet and visit.  This book made me wish I could talk to dead people who could tell me tales about their lives.  I guess that’s what historical books are for, huh?  With the exception of the beginning and the ending, each of the chapters in this book feels like it’s own little self-contained story – which is kind of nice since it means that there’s a natural stopping point when you’re reading.  To your kids.  Who I’m sure won’t have nightmares from this one.  Now, the last Harry Potter – that’s an entirely different story.

This one’s a good Gaiman read – wait until the paperback comes out though because there’s no reason to own it hardback.  But make sure whatever copy you get (or borrow, natch) has the Dave McKean illustrations because they are really great.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, 307 pages

Published in: on February 18, 2009 at 10:12 am  Comments (2)  
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