The Bee has had a long old summer break, mostly because I couldn't find anything much I wanted to write about. But I can't not review Agatha Parrot and the Floating Head, can I? It's the first in a new series by Kjartan Poskitt (although according to the title page it's actually by A. Parrot herself, and Poskitt has just 'typed it out neatly'.)
Naturally this isn't going to be a very objective review, since I've been working with Kjartan on his Murderous Maths and Urgum the Axeman books for years, and I think he's a genius. So if you want objectivity you'll have to beetle off to Amazon or somewhere and see what people are saying about it there - but oh, look - they love it too!
Format-wise, Agatha Parrot is reminiscent of Andy Stanton's superb Mr Gum series: there's just a small chunk of text on each page (which makes it an appealing book for reluctant readers as well as everybody else.) There's another similarity to Mr Gum: both series are illustrated by David Tazzyman, whose spindly, deceptively child-like drawings add greatly to the fun. Poskitt's humour is subtler than Andy Stanton's, though, and there's no magical malarkey involved; Agatha's adventures may be a tad unlikely, but they belong firmly in the Real World.
The story is simple and packed with good jokes, and I won't spoil it by going into details. It doesn't matter too much anyway, since what really makes the book special is Agatha's first-person narration; bubbly, excitable, packed with odd asides and dodgy grammar. I'm old enough to be reminded (in the best possible way) of Ronald Searle and Geoffrey Willans's Molesworth books, but Poskitt is the father of four daughters and I'm sure Agatha's voice comes largely from his first-hand knowledge of the workings of small girls' minds. (Woo! Go Poskitt! WE LOVE POSKITT!)
Unusually, perhaps, this is a book about girls that boys will be happy to read as well. My son is nine and doesn't much like girls or books, but he whizzed through Agatha Parrot, enjoyed it thoroughly, and wants to know if there will be more.
I'm happy to say that there will: the next one is called Agatha Parrot and the Mushroom Boy and will be out in February 2012.
(Small round of applause for Poskitt clap clap all right don't overdo it.)
|Here's Kjartan Poskitt posing with Sarah McIntyre at the Edinburgh Festival. |
(He's the one on the left. ) Read more on Sarah's BLOG,
which is where I swiped the photo from...
Agatha Parrot and the Floating Head is published by Egmont Books.