Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Children’s Book Review, The Selected Adventures of Bottersnikes and Gumbles

Reviewed by Susan Stephenson,

I was delighted to discover that The Selected Adventures of Bottersnikes and Gumbles had been published recently by HarperCollins. Written by S.A.Wakefield and illustrated by Desmond Digby, the books were originally published last century (which only means around 30, 40 and 50 years ago, but doesn’t it sound ages!) The books were absolute favourites in my classes and I read serialised episodes for many months.

From the publisher:

Deep in the bush live some very strange creatures ...

Bottersnikes live in rubbish heaps along dusty roadsides in the lonely Australian bush. They have green wrinkly skin, cheese grater noses and long, pointed ears that go red when they are angry. Which is most of the time.

Giggling Gumbles live in the bush, too. They are cheerful little creatures who can be squashed into all sorts of shapes, but cannot pop back into their proper shape unless helped. This makes the friendly Gumbles useful to the lazy Bottersnikes, who have some very nasty plans ...

The Bottersnikes may have some tricks up their sleeves, but so do the resourceful Gumbles.

The battle has begun!

Ages: 8+

The stories centre around two very different species living in the Australian bush. First of all, we have the Gumbles: cute, fun-loving, squishy, hopeless when they go giggly, and unable to get themselves out of containers they’ve been squashed into. Then there are the Bottersnikes: scaly, green, irascible, lazy and with long pointed ears that go red when they’re angry. How clever the Bottersnikes think they are when they decide to keep the Gumbles as canned slaves, and make them fix up the disgusting rubbish dumps they live in!

Apart from holding a wonderful environmental message, my students found the original books full of humour and excitement. They LOVED little Tinkingumble, the one Gumble who has brilliant ideas that come to him with a clear “tink” like a bell. They adored the cunning plans as different Gumbles saved their friends from the mean and cranky Bottersnikes. They enthused over the detail of the cleverly built world Wakefield constructed, and they grinned when inherent Gumble goodness triumphed over bad Bottersnikes.

Do seek out this new edition of many Bottersnike and Gumble adventures for your children. I’m also pleased to tell you that there’s an animated series on Australia’s Channel 7 to help excite kids about the book! Check out the video teaser on Vimeo, below.

Bottersnikes and Gumbles from Mighty Nice on Vimeo.

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