Sunday, October 30, 2016

Artie and the Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh

"Artie stared vacantly at the incensed teacher, whose face was millimetres from his, and who breath was like warm gusts from a Tupperware container in which something had gone off a great many years ago."

"Mrs Meller had a mouth like a drawstring purse, which when angry, would snap into a hard little knot, but when talking about her favourite things, like conjunctions and prepositions, it would flap open and closed with dreary enthusiasm."

"With this the mayor began a sort of delirious waltz all by himself ... As he screamed the little pools of white foam that had gathered in the corners of his mouth atomised and sprayed all over the unfortunate boy's face."

Richard Roxburgh is an Australian actor and this might be why his first book for children Artie and the Grime Wave has attracted quite a lot of publicity and press coverage.  I have seen interviews on television, read long articles in the Sydney Morning Herald and followed his book tour on Facebook.

Artie and The Grime Wave is a funny book and a wild romp that young readers will enjoy I am not sure it totally warrants all this attention although there are some little gems in the writing such as those I quoted above and at times the story will make you gasp as truly horrible things happen to Artie and his friends.

Artie and his friend Bumshoe (Alex Baumschule) stumble upon a cave filled with stolen goods. Artie's neighbour's the Unpronouceable-enkos (real name Zatserklyannaya-Tsekmistrenko) have had their precious tortoise called Gareth stolen. Artie knows the police won't believe what he has discovered so he sets out with Bumshoe to solve this crime.

In this book you will find baddies who are truly bad - Mary (a man called Humphrey), Funnel Web (real name Reginald) and Mayor Grimes (a corrupt meat eater) - just to name a few.  You will also find unexpected heroes - Artie himself, his loyal and brave friend Bumshoe and Aunty Boy.

"Aunty-boy was about the same size across as she was up and down.  Always wearing brightly coloured clothing, she looked a bit like some body's balloon collection.  ... The problem was this: Aunty-Boy never, ever had a bath or shower, instead choosing to fling baby power over herself each night before bed."

Luckily in spite of these strange hygiene habits, Aunty-Boy is an amazing inventor.  You will cheer as she puts her Fartex 120Y to very good use but make sure you have a peg ready because the smell could knock you over.

Click each of the links below to read some reviews and an interview and perhaps learn a little more about the plot of this book.  You can also read Richard's views about the importance of libraries!

This is a fresh, unpredictable book that does not shy away from wedgie, fart, burp and snot jokes. 

Fans of Walliams, Ahn Do and the Griffith/Denton duo will delight over every detail in ‘Artie and the Grime Wave‘ and I am pleased to report that Roxburgh’s wry wit and sharp (possibly absurd?) mind is evident in every sentence and every deliciously gross illustration. 

After reading Artie and the Grime wave you might enjoy Angie's Ankles (sadly long out of print by Gary Hurle) which has similar tattooed baddies, Loot, No place for Grubs by Max Dann and Clever Trevor's Stupendous Inventions.

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