Published by Bloomsbury, 2017.
This is a terrific read. It had me laughing from the first page to the last.
It is set in a boys’ boarding school, the remote and dismal Maudlin Towers School for the Not Particularly Bright Sons of the Not Especially Wealthy. We follow the plight of two of its pupils: Mildew and Sponge. A series of mysterious and unusual events (the sighting of a Viking in the ha-ha, a ghost in the attic, and the disappearance of the School Spoon) prompt the boys to become amateur detectives. Their subsequent adventures seem to cause the boys more problems than they solve and involve mind-boggling time-travel, fierce werewolves and an enchanting new Latin teacher.
I love a book that begins with a map of the setting, or pictures of the key characters, and this book has both. They immediately transported me into the world of Maudlin Towers. It’s a world of dreary teachers and stupefying lessons, school bullies, cabbage-heavy school dinners, and intolerable PE lessons with a sadistic PE teacher. I warmed to the two hapless and unlikely heroes straight away.
There’s plenty of humour in the book: loads of laugh-out-loud moments, funny dialogue, hilarious madcap adventures and witty asides and observations, including this description of the boys staggering out of every two-hour maths lesson, “hollow-eyed and filled with self-loathing and a mind-numbing sense of limitless despair.” The humour lends the book a real lightness and pace, and I sped through it in a couple of days, chuckling to myself throughout.
As well as writing such a brilliant story, Chris has also illustrated the book. His humorous black and white drawings are a real treat. I particularly liked the nod to Fawlty Towers on the cover page and the sketches of the teaching staff. Mildew and Sponge’s various facial expressions had me giggling too.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to read the next in the series, which is due to be published in 2018.
Suitable for children aged 8+
Thank you to Bloomsbury for sending me this book to review. I reviewed this book as part of the Curse of the Werewolf Boy blog tour.