Mick Elliott, Squidge Dibley Destroys Everything, Hachette Australia, March 2020, 176 pp., $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9780734419460
Squidge Dibley Destroys Everything is the third book in this series written and illustrated by Mike Elliott. This book, aimed at mid to late primary school age children (especially boys), follows the adventures of Squidge Dibley, his best friend Padman O’Donnell and their odd and oddly talented classmates in 6PU at Craglands South Primary School. What starts with a talent quest ends with a plot to take over the world. Only Squidge with his extraordinary abilities and his mates from 6PU can save the day. This book tightens tension wonderfully as things for 6PU and Squidge get steadily and crazily worse. Then using teamwork and ingenuity they overcome adversity and save the day.
The book comes with the warning, too gross for grown-ups! It certainly does its best to live up to the warning with frequent mentions of poo, wee, burping, headlice, and spance (an alarming mix of slam-poetry and dance).
I mostly enjoyed Squidge Dibley Destroys Everything. My only concern was around the character of Squidge and his many medical conditions that necessitate carrying a briefcase full of doctor’s notes. These conditions include maladies such as bungee bones and marshmallow muscles that in fact enable Squidge to perform astonishing, super-human feats. I was left wondering how children with medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis or cerebral palsy might feel reading about Squidge, contrasting their own conditions that don’t come with cool side effects with Squidge’s humorous and nonsensical conditions.
Reviewed by Anne Varnes