Sunday, 1 April 2012


Author: Guy Bass
Illustrator: Pete Williamson
Stripes Publishing

Everyone's favourite mad professor's forgotten creation is about to hit the seven seas. Since the last book's debacle with the horrible Fulbert Freakfinder and his circus of freaks, Stitch  Head has vowed never to leave Castle Grotteskew and his master Mad Professor Erasmus (who is mad). But one day Stitch Head, his best friend Creature (a massive combination of abnormal monster parts) and Arabella (a fearless and slightly violent human) come across The Daring Diary of Captain Flashpowder. This, plus a significant kidnapping and some mysterious letters, might just encourage Stitch Head to look at the world in a different way - through a pirate's eye.

Guy Bass is one of those comedy geniuseseses who can make you chuckle away with characters you completely&utterly love. The timid and tiny Stitch Head, who spends his life running around sorting out the monstrous creations of a professor who doesn't even remember his name, is someone you want to pick up and hug (if that wouldn't terrify him). Creature is huge, clumsy, well-meaning and accidentally shouts a lot. You'd probably want him to do the picking up and hugging (if there wasn't a chance he might accidentally squash you). And Arabella you definitely wouldn't hug, because she might hit you. But she'd be great to have in a crisis where bravery is required. And she has a monkey-bat who chews her hair. 

That's right. A MONKEY-BAT. If I could invent and then own any animal it would be a monkey-bat. And it has a great name, but I won't spoil it.  

The way this book is put together is stunning. Pete Williamson's shadowy, Tim Burton-esque illustrations creep over the pages, capturing the quirky community of Grubber's Nubbin in all their gruesome hilariousness. The pages are made to look like charred parchment, which adds to the pirateyness and is just plain cool, and each chapter is fronted by a quotation from the Daring Diary of Captain Flashheart, offering nuggets such as 'Anyone who says the pen is mightier than the sword has only ever been stabbed with a pen'.

If this book isn't on the next Roald Dahl Funny Prize shortlist then the world is as mad as Mad Professor Erasmus (who is very mad).

Also, look at this interview, in which I not only talk to Guy Bass, I also meet (and frighten) Stitch Head!

No comments:

Post a Comment