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In a nutshell: laugh-out loud adventures with the boy who can’t lie Poor Beaky Malone’s life was thrown into chaos when an encounter with the mysterious Madame Shirley robbed him of his ability to tell a lie, making school and home life a minefield. In this latest adventure he has some particular challenges to meet: first, in pre-unable-to-lie days, he’d entered his dog into TV’s Most Talented Pets, claiming Destructo could ride a bike; plus he’s got the starring role in the school play – Romeo and Juliet with Aliens – playing opposite his crush Evie. In Barry Hutchison’s capable hands everything that can go wrong does, and a whole lot of other things too. It makes for first-rate, top-speed situation comedy, the laughs coming not just because of the silly set-up but because we actually care for and sympathise with Beaky too. An honest-to-goodness treat for readers! Readers who laugh at Beaky will also enjoy Frank Cottrell Boyce’s The Astounding Broccoli Boy, My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons or The Person Controller by David Baddiel. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: enormously funny story about boy compelled to tell the truth Ever since his encounter with an old lady who might just have been a witch, Beaky Malone has been unable to speak anything but the truth – a difficult situation for anyone, but a disaster for a born fibber like Beaky. In this episode he’s chosen to represent the school in a competition that involves camping overnight; with school bully Wayne also on the team, a boy who has good reason to hate him, Beaky is understandably nervous. As ever the action is fast and very, very funny, but it’s surprising how many truths Barry Hutchison can smuggle into the story, about people, relationships, and how lies might just make the world go round. ~ Andrea Reece There are more laughs, along with canny insight into ordinary life in My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons, or The Person Controller and The Parent Agency by David Baddiel.
January 2017 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: In all honesty, a book to have readers laughing aloud | Poor Beaky Malone: once an accomplished fibber, he’s now condemned to be completely, even brutally honest at all times thanks to an encounter with a little old lady who just might have been a witch. Barry Hutchison takes this comic set up and plays it brilliantly as Beaky blurts out one embarrassing truth after another; funnier but more painful for Beaky still, his teachers never believe him. Forced to spend the school trip partnered with the school’s nastiest bully Beaky can’t stop himself telling everyone that Wayne wet his pants in year 6, making for a particularly tense day. It’s cleverly structured and the characters are deftly drawn too so that we feel for Beaky even as we laugh at him. Readers who laugh at Beaky will also enjoy Frank Cottrell Boyce’s The Astounding Broccoli Boy, My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons or The Parent Controller by David Baddiel. ~ Andrea Reece
In a Nutshell: the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth! If they gave out black-belts for telling fibs, Beaky Malone would be a seventh Dan master. All that changes though when he steps into a rusty metal box that appears to be a truth-telling machine and becomes incapable of uttering a single untruth. It’s a brilliant comic set-up, made even more entertaining thanks to Beaky’s family situation: his bickering aunt and uncle have just arrived for the weekend, with his cousins Max aka ‘Satan in shorts’ and creepy Sophie in tow. Add his teenage sister Jodie into the mix, and their nutty dog Destructo, and the stage is set for a very silly, but very, very funny adventure. Barry Hutchison expertly keeps the plates spinning and there’s an involving adventure beneath the absurdity. ~ Andrea Reece