You're a Bad Man Mr Gum!

Author: Andy Stanton
Read by: Andy Stanton
BBC Audio
RRP: 5.99
ISBN: 978 1 4056 8754 6
Available 06 August 2007

Mr Gum is a truly nasty old man, who hates children, animals, fun and corn on the cob. But this story is not just about him. There is also a girl called Polly, an evil stinky butcher, heroes and sweets and stuff, and Jake the dog, who must be saved from terrible, terrible evil. Oh, yes, and there's an angry fairy who lives in Mr Gum's bathtub...

Winner of the Red House Children's Book Award, You're A Bad Man, Mr Gum is a wacky tale written and read by the equally wacky Andy Stanton. If Roald Dahl, at his most warped, and Monty Python, at their zaniest, had got together to write a movie the resulting plot would be not dissimilar to You're a Bad Man Mr Gum! In fact, it's pretty obvious that the publisher is going for that Roald Dahl angle - the cover to this release looks suspiciously like a homage to the great illustrator Quentin Blake.

The story starts by explaining who Mr Gum is and why his house is such a mess, yet his garden is the neatest in his neighbourhood. For some reason he has a mad fairy who lives in his bathroom and hits Mr Gum on the head with a frying pan if he does not keep the garden looking spick and span.

When a new dog to the neighbourhood ruins Mr Gum's garden - and then keeps ruining it ever day after he tidies it up again - Mr Gum decides he needs to get rid of the dog... for good. However a little girl called Polly (you really don't want to know her full name - it's way too long) hears about Mr Gum's plans and sets off to save the dog.

Stanton's delivery is faultless - he has a style that is original and hilarious. This is just the sort of humour that young children will instantly warm to. And, as an added bonus, their parents will too. Another element that adds to this release is the inclusion of humorous sound effects and for those who continue to listen after the story has finished there is a special treat.

You're a Bad Man Mr Gum! is almost too funny to be wasted on mere children.

Darren Rea

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