Sunday 8 July 2012

Review: Casper Candlewacks in Attack of the Brainiacs by Ivan Brett

You know what it's like - you wait all day for someone to open a restaurant and then two come along at once. But this village isn't big enough for the both of them! Fists will fly and so will custard, mustard and sausage rolls as Casper and his dad try to won the world's biggest ever food fight.

There is very little I can say about Casper Candlewacks in Attack of the Brainiacs, that I have not already said about the two previous books in this fab series from Ivan Brett. Every good word I wrote about Death By Pigeon and Claws of Crime applies to this book as well, so in the interest of global sustainability I think I'm going to recycle those two reviews:

It should come with a health warning: if read at bedtime make sure plastic bed sheets are fitted as your child will laugh so much a little bit of wee may come out.

The characters are a delight to read, both main and secondary and Ivan Brett's word-play is sublime.

Publishers please take note - we want more books like this.

[Ivan Brett's ] future could be so bright a pair of shades just might be required pretty soon (and now, three books in, I hope he has invested in those sunglasses).

Please feel free to call this lazy reviewing, but there are only so many ways of saying a book (or series of books in this case) is brilliant and should be an essential requirement for all local and primary school libraries (and why not secondary schools as well, whilst we're at it). I have been recommending these books left, right and centre to everyone I know who has 8-11 children, and a good few who have younger kids as they also make brilliant bedtime readers.

In this third outing for Casper, the only sensible boy in a village full of idiots, things start to become decidedly weird as our hero and his peers start at senior school, in their case St. Simians in the nearby city of High Kobb. A run in with the school's resident family of neanderthal bullies soon becomes the least of his worries as he starts to realise that his previously idiotic classmates are suddenly showing signs of extreme intelligence. How could Lamp, inventor of ridiculous contraptions, suddenly be capable of finishing a grammar sheet before it is even handed out and other such feats of cerebral brilliance? Is it something in the High Kobb air, or is it something closer to home?

As well as this, Casper also has to contend with the forthcoming re-opening of his father's restaurant back in Corne-on-the-Kobb. All is going as expected (i.e. not particularly swimmingly) when things take a turn for the worse when a rival restaurant is opened on the same night, run by sinister French chef, Renee. So begins a battle of wits more vicious than anything seen in Midsomer Murders. Who will win the right to have the only restaurant in Corne-on-the Kobb? Will Casper's friendship with Lamp endure the ultimate of betrayals? And just what is it that is making everyone so clever?

Yes, Candlewacks fans, Ivan Brett has delivered yet again and in doing so he has proven that he is definitely no Falco or Tone-Loc*. 

My thanks go to the lovely people at HarperCollins (yes, I mean you Rosi) for sending me a copy to review.

* Did you get this reference, fans of obscure 80s pop?

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to this one. Still need to read the second!