Mick Elliott, Squidge Dibley Destroys the School, Lothian Children’s Books, June 2019, 176 pp., RRP $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9780734419422
This is the first book in a great new series by Mick Elliott. Prepare for elaborate descriptions and explicit details of stinky farts and bellowed burps; it truly is a book for the many kids out there who thrive on indulging in face twisting, grossness, and the grown up who enjoys being grossed out!
Mick Elliott puts a marvellous twist on this story of a class too tough to teach. He opens the story with a great hook, immediately sparking the reader’s curiosity as to who Squidge Dibley actually is?!
This ‘atypical’ year 6 class at Craglands South churns through teachers seen as the next “victim”; you wonder who on earth could manage the antics of this class and calm the calamity?
A power hungry ‘nightmare’ of a teacher is assigned to them; from which they need to be saved. Enter Squidge Dibley, who we meet more formally in Chapter 23. Mick does a great job creating unique and humorous class member characters, who make for an intriguing collection of individuals within the confirmed space of a classroom.
Squidge is a great character who we learn very quickly has unpredictable, and unusual characteristics that make him unique and fascinating. Squidge’s arrival, picks up the pace of the story, with lots of great action and visual movement that certainly keeps the reader interested.
An action filled climax wonderfully demonstrates how a class with such unique individual differences can come together to collaborate and use their unique strengths to complement each other and solve a problem.
Great balance of clever cartoon style illustrations and text, and certainly wonderfully attractive to the potential ‘reluctant reader’ who appreciates less text heavy pages.
This is not a book I’d typically be into; but I did appreciate the humour and drama entwined with grossness and enjoyed some chuckles at the wittiness included.
Overall a story that resonates on the themes of; inclusion, accepting others’ differences, and celebrates teachers, who embrace differences as strengths to use them to grow students to their full potential.
Mick certainly shows a wonderful, creative stretch of the imagination, just as his main character Squidge Dibley.
Reviewed by Sonia Bestulic