Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pencil of Doom by Andy Griffiths

I will admit I am not a huge fan of Andy Griffiths – why would I be – I am completely the wrong demographic. I am not a boy in Year 4 or Year 5 but I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed reading one of his newest books – Pencil of Doom.

What a great book to read if you feel like real laugh. The plot has just the right number of twists and turns for a story that could be so predictable.

The pencil of this book is totally evil. The idea is similar to the genii from the bottle who gives wishes but always gets those wishes wrong. When the children draw their wishes using this pencil they really need to take care. How these wishes are ‘interpreted’ by the pencil of doom is guaranteed to be a shock, dangerous and often a disaster.

One memorable scene is in the school library towards the end of the story. Our 5 intrepid heroes enter the library stealthily. Clive, their enemy, has the pencil and he has produced a cartoon that fills all the friends with dread. Frame one is a happy picnic scene set under a snow capped mountain, frame two the cap of the mountain breaks off, frame three all the friends are buried under the snow, and the final frame is five tombstones in a ring on the snow.

The cartoon comes true but since we are in the library it is the bookshelves, not snow that falls on the gang. Mr Shush, the librarian, must set the children free but first “I have to do it systematically. In alphabetical order. This is a library, you know, not a garage sale. It will take me a few seconds ... minutes ... hours …days … weeks … months … years.” See Chapters 58-63 for more details.

I love the name Mr Shush and of course the other characters have great names too – the teacher Mr Brainfright, Mrs Rainbow the art teacher, Mr Grunt the sports teacher and my personal favourite Mrs Bandaid the school nurse.

You will laugh out loud when you read this book so if you need a good laugh try Pencil of Doom! This is the second book in the Schooling Around series which began with Treasure Fever.