Toad Surprise by Morris Gleitzman

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Toad Surprise by Morris Gleitzman
Buy Toad Surprise from Amazon.co.uk

Buy Toad Surprise from Amazon.com

Genre: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A toad-al success, as a Christmas-themed adventure offers delights and surprises aplenty in a hilarious adventure for those in single digits.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 160 Date: October 2009
Publisher: Puffin
ISBN: 978-0141326948

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I was going to mention, at some time in this review, that you would be hard pushed to confuse this book with the same author's Holocaust stories, but as it begins with an apocalyptic massacre in a hit and run road crash, perhaps you might. Such is the lot of the humble cane toad. Always having to take the warty with the smooth. Or so you'd think, until Limpy identifies the next driver to pull up near their swamp as Santa. At last - his chance to improve human-cane toad relationships, by getting his species recognised as Santa's new little helpers. And so he hops on the truck with his best friend, the macho Goliath, and drives off with Santa. ...Or does he?

What follows is the most hilarious look at exploring the Christmas spirit you're likely to find, added to a rollicking comedy adventure just right for the under tens. It really feels like at least two Christmases rolled into one. This volume bears the lightest touch in giving everybody in its audience some suitable humour, and an unguessable adventure, with what can only be called charming whimsy. All this is still tempered by modern sensibilities, as witnessed in the most gentle, genial bad-taste comedy.

Ultimately all I was left feeling was that if Gleitzman had managed to save this much warmth, this much ingenuity, and this much bravura fun for the fourth in this series, what on earth were the first three like?! Also, given the sunny nature of the Christmases down under, this does not feel particularly like a seasonal gift book - it is for life not just for Christmas. Well, for a few good years of fun at least.

The only possible hiccup in this is it's a little Australian in language and vocabulary ("Mummy, what's a Ute?"). Otherwise, it's toadally brilliant.

I have to thank the kind Puffin people for my review copy.

We also enjoyed this author's Give Peas a Chance. For more wacky, charming animal adventures, you might try Wonderful Wriggly Worm by Eugenie Summerfield and it's sequel, or for more very child friendly daft larks, we still recommend Stone Goblins by David Melling.

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