*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author and Kelly Lacey of Love Books Tours. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: On a mysterious and far away island, strange things are happening. With no people in sight, a wonderful collection of talking animals are having extraordinary, funny adventures. We have returned to the Island of Animaux, a land that somehow continues to change its position on the planet each day, to prevent it being found by humans. Perhaps this is the ancient and lost world of Atlantis!
The five new tales in A Surprise Party link seamlessly to the ones in the last book, Monsieur Le Chef. Once again that foul fowl Aubrey the Turkey is up to no good, although as usual his naughtiness only rebounds on himself. See the old bird try to host a wonderful party but forget to invite any guests. Watch as Walli Hog and Clifford Platypus take care of him after poor Aubrey becomes very ill, a kindness that he repays by selling their bedroom curtains! Shiver as the evil Rick Rat persuades three witches to put a curse on the turkey. And then see Aubrey do something incredible that no one, not even himself, could have imagined. Once again, stories packed with fun, silliness, naughty behaviour and happy endings.
Please enjoy the stories. And don’t be afraid to laugh, particularly as Aubrey’s expense. But please, please, please – continue to remember to keep the latest position of the island top secret!
This is a collection of short-ish stories – each three scenes long – following the adventures of greedy, lazy Aubrey and his caring, put-upon friends, Walli and Clifford. In the first story, the three friends get on well together, but by the second story, Aubrey has reverted back to his less pleasant ways – thanks to an adverse medical reaction – and it takes the rest of the book for him to get back on track in his behaviour and friendships.
The stories follow on from each other, so the start of each story refers back to events from the previous story (other than the first, of course, which stands alone). Each plot features Aubrey’s silly schemes, and his friends attempting to navigate them reasonably, with some good messages about caring for and appreciating others, and about forgiving our friends (some more readily than others).
The children, Minishine (8) and Babybows (5), appreciated the slapstick humour of ear wax, inflated rats and ‘farty-wartys’, but some of the more subtle humour from the interplay between the characters, or from Aubrey’s inner thoughts, went right over their heads. Which was fine, as that more mature layer made it more enjoyable for us adults during bedtime story!
Here’s what the small reviewers had to say:
Babybows (5): It’s a good book because it is funny. I like Clifford best, but I like Aubrey because he farted in the stinging nettle fizz! And I like Rick the Rat because he is a baddy but he is not very good at being a baddy, I don’t think. But Aubrey’s fart was the funniest.
Minishine (8): Yes, it was funny that he did a farty-warty, and I like that they call them farty-wartys! My favourite character is Walli because she is so sweet and a girl – like me – and Mum makes her have a funny, cute voice. They are silly stories but they tell you about being a good friend.
Yes, we’re fans of sophisticated humour in our house!
Minishine raises a good point about the voices, too. This is a fantastic book for really having fun with when reading aloud, with lots of scope for silly voices and sound effects. Along with being split into scenes, I could see this being a great book to actually perform with children, getting them to take the roles of the friends and see whether they would have solved things any differently.
Just make sure your small listeners don’t immediately set out to create their own version of Aubrey’s creative cocktails, or try out any of Clifford’s games on a friend or sibling… Babybows was very keen to get to work on the fizz, and felt a Minishine piñata would be hilarious! (She reacted much like Walli did to the suggestion).
Ideal for reading aloud together, or for independent readers aged 8+, these anthropomorphic animal adventures are great fun for all ages.
“Right – we need to get our act together. Walli, you’re on food. Aubs, you do the drinks. I’m on games. Let’s go!”– Milo McGivern, A Surprise Party & four other stories
“But I still don’t know how we’re going to do this,” said Aubrey.
“Look, mate. You’re holding things up. Just make things out of anything you find. Be creative. Go on – free your inner self. You’ll be fine.”
“OK,” said Aubrey, still clueless about what was required. “I’ll try my best.”
Milo McGivern is the writing name for Steve Humphries. Steve has spent many years working in finance. He has travelled extensively although is most happy when he is at home in Berkshire. Steve enjoys casual story writing and the Aubrey the Turkey tales were first imagined over 30 years ago. ‘A Surprise Party’ is the third book in the ‘Tales from Animaux’ series.
Don’t forget to check out the other blog stops on the tour for more great reviews and content (see the poster below for details)!