Sunday 11 September 2011

Review: Muddle Earth Too by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

Once upon a time, a spell went very wrong – and Joe Jefferson found himself transported to Muddle Earth, where the wizards are mad, the pink stinky hogs are stinky, and the jokes are truly terrible. Now, two years later, Muddle Earth needs him back. But even with his Wellies of Power, Woolly Gloves of Determination and a saucepan on his head, can Joe Jefferson really defeat the terrifying spectre of evil that threatens to destroy Muddle Earth?

Get prepared for another epic battle between the forces of good, evil and everything in between!

Way back when I was in my early teens I made the mistake of trying to read Bored of the Rings by The Harvard Lampoon; I think I managed to get through about a third of it before giving up, something that is very rare for me. Since then I have avoided parodies like the plague, and when I see the likes of the Barry Trotter books in shops I feel nothing but contempt for them. Similarly am also not a fan of parody films such as Scary Movie and Epic Movie. As such, I imagine that had I not been sent a copy of Muddle Earth Too by the nice people at Macmillan then it too would have never been lifted by my hands, and certainly never read. However, Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell have written some great books and as it was the summer holidays and I had more time to read I thought I would give it a go, and I was pleasantly surprised.

I have not read the first Muddle Earth book so I was expecting something a little like Bored of the Rings, a focused parody of The Lord of the Rings but for younger readers and with comical references that would have more relevance for today's readers. What I got was a laugh out loud comedy story, with very clever parodying of a host of classic fantasy stories, both old (the Narnia series) and new (His Dark Materials, Harry Potter and Twilight to name but a few). It also has a cracking storyline - it is not just an excuse to crack joke after joke which is the feeling I have always felt when watching those parody films from the US. In fact, it feels more like a fantasy story written by two devotees of the genre that is incredibly funny, in much the same way that Shaun of the Dead is a loving tribute to zombie movies that just happens to be hilarious.

I think 10+ boys who enjoy comedy books will love Muddle Earth Too. It has a huge array of great characters, often very creatively named by the two authors, and a plethora of wonderfully imagined mythical creatures, all entwined within a fast-paced and exciting plot. Of course, the words are also accompanied by Chris Riddells superb illustrations, drawn in the same style that his legion of fans know and love. Somehow he manages to convey so much personality within his detailed line drawings of the characters and creatures in the story and once I had finished reading the book I went back through it to spend time admiring the illustrations on their own.

Muddle Earth Too was published in a hardcover edition by Macmillan at the beginning of September.


  1. sounds brillant
    i read the frist of these books and i LOVED it even if your a girl [i am a girl] or a boy i'm sure you will love it

  2. Very good read.
    If youre a boy,
    Or girl,
    Im sure you will enjoy
    the series.