Sally Rippin & Adrian Beck (eds.) and James Foley (illustrator), Total Quack Up!, Penguin Random House Australia, October 15 2018, 288 pp., RRP $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9780143794905
With the talent of Sally Rippin and Adrian Beck as editors, plus names like Jacqueline Harvey, Paul Jennings and R.A. Spratt as contributing authors, Total Quack Up! is sure to capture the attention of avid young readers. It contains 10 humorous short stories by some of the best-known names in the children’s book industry in Australia, plus one story by an 11 yr old competition winner, that holds its own among the professional work.
Kids love humorous stories and when you consider humour for the mid to upper primary school years you are most likely imagining stories involving toilets, bums, and other scenarios relating to the underpants area. Total Quack Up! delivers this and more with other sure-to-please stories about adults getting embarrassed, anthropomorphic pigs, and kids creating awkward and dangerous situations for themselves.
Most stories could be read in under 15 mins, which makes it ideal for teachers who want to fill a gap in the day or for parents to squeeze in at bedtime. Hearing an adult read the awkward and embarrassing stories aloud would certainly make them even funnier for a kid. But a confident 8-10 yr old reader could also read this book to themselves and they would still really enjoy it.
One really positive thing about this book is that kids who are already fans of one or two of the featured authors will likely be drawn to read the whole book and gain exposure to authors they haven’t yet sampled. And given that many of the authors are prolific, often with a series or two to their name, it could take kids on tangential reading streams that will keep them occupied and entertained for weeks.
Reviewed by Cherie Bell