Tales From Witchway Wood: Crash 'n' Bang by Kaye Umansky
|Tales From Witchway Wood: Crash 'n' Bang by Kaye Umansky|
|Genre: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: A fun romp through Witchway Wood with a rather unusual band...|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 224||Date: April 2011|
The Whichway Rhythm Boys is a band made up of Filth (who is Witch Sludgegooey's fiend) on drums, Arthur the Dragon on piano (he lives with his mum and likes a nice hot curry) and O'Brian the Leprechaun on penny whistle who is often mistaken for a Pixie, much to his disgust. Together they play gigs in the woods, for Zombie balls and suchlike, but the music they really love to play is Crash 'n' Bang!
Kaye Umansky once again invites us into her wonderfully imagined Witchway Wood as we see the band who, for the first time, get themselves a manager - The Thing in the Moonmad T Shirt - and a new lead singer - Tallula the Werewolf. With TT's vision for the band they find themselves entering a competition, about to play their beloved Crash 'n' Bang music in public for the first time. TT is, of course, in it for the money, whilst all the band care about is the music. There's plenty of poking fun at celebrities, and lots of jokes. I liked the 'Magic Card' that TT acquires from a shop. It allows him to buy things without having any money and, of course, he goes a bit mad shopping with it!
There are appearances from characters from other Umansky stories throughout, as well as little footnotes directing you to other books of hers that she mentions, but I think you could quite easily come to the book without reading any others first. The main storyline follows the band, and the new characters we're introduced to are funny and interesting. I particularly liked the Werewolf, Tallula, with her shabby little dress (she doesn't like shopping) and her habit of baking moon shaped cookies when there's a full moon. I also liked Arthur the Dragon, who seems to have an excellent relationship with his mum, and I thought the O'Brian storyline was very funny. The whole set up of the band is really well written, with a real teenage rebellion feel to it jumbled amongst the magical elements.
There are little pen and ink drawings scattered throughout that give you a helpful idea about what some of these characters look like, and the story has good pace to it. I particularly liked that I couldn't predict the ending, and I thought she brought the various threads of the story together very well at the end.
Although I enjoyed the story I did feel that it lacked a little bit of the sparkle of her other books, and it didn't make me laugh quite as much as Pongwiffy does. However there's still silliness galore, some interesting characters, and it's a fun story to read either for confident readers going it alone, or to share as a bedtime treat!
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: For more magical fun try Kaye Umansky's Pongwiffy stories.
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