Monday, April 20, 2009

You're a bad man, Mr. Gum! by Andy Stanton, read by the author - review

You're a bad man, Mr. Gum! by Andy Stanton, read by the author

"'I am glad you asked me that,' said Friday, 'because the universe is my specialist subject and I am the winner of quizzes where that's concerned.'
This audio book had our whole family giggling all the way up Interstate 95 from Georgia when we came home from Spring Break. Really. Now, I don't want to take away from the print edition, which is certainly a funny book, with hip little illustrations and a chapter entitled "Mr. Gum Has a Cup of Tea" whose entire text is "Mr. Gum had a cup of tea," but on audio...

Let's put it this way. The other audio book that we really enjoyed on that trip, Neil Gaiman's The Neil Gaiman Audio Collection, included an interview with the author as a Special Bonus Feature. The interview is conducted by Gaiman's daughter Maddie, who asks good questions, including: "Why do you like audio books?" Neil answers this (and all the other) questions with his accustomed brevity, saying, (and I am paraphrasing here - that thing about Gaiman's brevity was me lying) that he likes audio books because he as an author can read the book as he first heard it in his head when he wrote it. Funny voices and all.

So, Andy Stanton apparently had choirs of lunatics speaking in his head when he was writing You're a Bad Man, Mr. Gum!. Or maybe just Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, and the entire Monty Python ensemble, including the dead guy who wanted to be a doctor. His characters are by turns terrible and silly, mystical and silly, adorable and silly, crabby and silly, and... silly. PLUS we get extremely Adams-y silly stuff like"

"She ran past a cat's ears that were lying on the pavement and a cat's nose and whiskers that were lying on the pavement and a cat's body and tail and legs and eyes and claws that were lying on the paveme -- in fact it was all just one cat, lying on the pavement."
And don't look for any Special Bonus Features on this CD, or in the book, because there AREN'T ANY.

Or... that's me lying again.


Sarah Ackerley said...

Mr. Gum is hands down my favorite kid's chapter book of all times. SO funny, SO absurd, SO clever. I love Andy Stanton!

YNL said...

Sarah, you should totally try the audio, then. This is a guy who has a LOT of fun reading aloud. The first-person stuff, and the little girl's long name... he's great!