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Casper Candlewacks in Death by Pigeon! [Paperback]

Ivan Brett
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
RRP: £5.99
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Book Description

28 April 2011 Casper Candlewacks

Casper Candlewacks is the only boy with any sense in a village full of idiots… a hilarious debut novel from the funniest new voice in young fiction.
But don’t just take our word for it! Jeremy Strong has hailed it “a funny and engaging debut”.

Most villages have an idiot but Casper's village is full of them. So being bright makes poor Casper something of an outsider. When famous magician the Great Tiramisu curses the village, Casper's father is blamed and sentenced to death by pigeon. It's up to Casper and his best friend to find the magician, reverse the curse and save the day.

A riotous tale that proves all you really need in life is a buggy that runs on washing-up liquid and a couple of boys to crash it.

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Casper Candlewacks in Death by Pigeon! + Casper Candlewacks in Attack of the Brainiacs! + Casper Candlewacks in the Claws of Crime!
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks (28 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007411553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007411559
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 18.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 187,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


“A funny and engaging debut” Jeremy Strong

"Perfect for readers who like a laugh." Sunday Express

"One of children's fiction's most promising new writers…" Aldershot News and Mail

About the Author

Ivan was born in Edinburgh in 1989, in a bike shop, or so he thought for a good chunk of his childhood. As a Philosophy undergraduate at Bristol University he spent his spare time scribbling on the backs of bus tickets, crisp packets, or whatever else he could get his hands on. Thankfully these scribbles ended up becoming a book. He now lives in London and is a full time writer.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truly engaging 10 April 2011
By Valery Koroshilov VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What I like most in this book is its systematic encouragement to be curious about absolutely everything around. It concerns the descriptions of the major and minor characters, the observations of things and matters, the developments of the plot, the portrayal of dreams and fears, etc. I have noticed, for example, after reading the book my children had discussed certain tricks of The Great Tiramisu, as well as the practicalities of various inventions and devices, such as the glow-in-the-dark trousers and the sponge shoes. There is certainly a lot of humor and imagination, dynamic narration, funny names and delightful dialogs. Truly engaging writing.
The main character is an 11-year old boy, and this is probably an indication of the most likely audience, however, my 9-year old boys had effortlessly made it through and described it rather positively.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You may just wet yourself laughing 20 May 2011
There have been some pretty fantastic books released so far in 2011, and this hilarious debut by Ivan Brett ranks right up there as one of my personal favourites. In fact, it should come with a health warning: if read at bedtime make sure plastic bed sheets are fitted as your child will laugh so much a little bit of wee may come out.

As the blurb says, our hero, Casper Candlewacks (just the first in a plethora of clever plays on words in this book), is the only boy with any sense living in a village full of idiots, that village being the wonderfully named Corne-on-the-Kobb. Such an obvious premise I am surprised it hasn't been used more often, and it is made all the better by the fact that none of the other inhabitants of said village realise just how stupid they are - the closest they get to this is their dislike for Casper, because he is different. And by different we mean he can do things like joined-up writing and knows his times tables. In Chapter One we see first hand some of the persecution young Casper faces on a daily basis, this time from his teacher, Mrs Snagg - a distinctly unpleasant lady that no child of average intelligence or above would enjoy having for lessons. In fact, she is so stupid that she can't even read - she sets Ivan a punishment essay about the soon-to-be-visiting magician, the Great Tiramisu, and he manages to submit a previously completed essay on Brazil in its place without her having the slightest clue. And Corne-on-the-Kobb is full of people like this.

You would be right in thinking that Casper's life is pretty miserable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant young imagination at work 27 April 2011
What I love about this book is that it absolutely refuses to talk down to children. The jokes are off the wall, witty and perfectly capable of amusing a 90 year old just as well as a 9 year old, without the disappointing and patronising focus on smelly people and farts that so many books for children revolve around. It felt like the author was having a lot of fun creating this crazy world and I couldn't help but be carried away by his brilliant imagination.

For a 21 year old author, this isn't half bad.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Casper Candlewacks and his geeky sidekick Lamp (yes, really) are the only intelligent people in a country village peopled by bullies and idiots. We are firmly in Roald Dahl territory here, where sadistic stereotypes exist to make life hellish for resourceful children.

Casper's home life leaves much to be desired - his family consists of his exhausted father, who is the chef at the village's really rather awful restaurant, his useless TV-addict mother and a baby of indeterminate gender and unparalleled hideousness. At school he is bullied by his teacher and his classmates - only Lamp doggedly clings to him, eager to demonstrate his embarrassing inventions.

You'd think things couldn't get much worse, but of course they do - Casper manages to anger a volatile Italian magician who promptly curses the whole village. Of course, it falls to Casper and Lamp to save the day - which they do using Lamp's latest creation - a buggy that runs on soap bubbles - more than a little luck and the inside information that the Italian magician is highly allergic to coriander. This is the kind of book where if it says something makes a character's head explode, that is precisely what happens.

What redeems this book from often-imitated cliche is the liveliness of its writing, which is genuinely original and funny. Children will love the random craziness of Ivan Brett's metaphors ("children were rolling around like terrified sausage rolls", for example). My review copy wasn't illustrated throughout, but the few pages that were suggest that the pictures will add a further level of wackiness and break down any lingering resistance to the printed word in its target audience (probably boys aged around six to nine, though there's much for girls to enjoy, too).

So, if your little one has worked their way through Hiccup Haddock Horrendous and Mr Gum and is clamouring for more of the same, this will fit the bill nicely. I hope it's one of a lengthy series.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Proper Review 21 April 2011
By Chris Morse VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've read some reviews for this book which are not very favourable, made by adults.
I gave the book to my son age 10. It was great to see him take it to bed every night and read. Such an achievment these days.
My only thought on the book was wondering why the pictures stopped after the first chapter or so. here is what he said though:

Casper Candlewacks is a book about a village that gets cursed by the great Tiramasu, but Casper and his friend Lamp Flanigan have to try and stop it.
I found this book funny, it made me laugh in every chapter especialy at the begining when the author explained what an idiot is.
My favourite character was Cuddles because he gnaws everything, even metal!
I would recomend this book for boys and girls from the age of seven who are able to read. They would like this book because it has pictures and funny words.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars :)
NIce book, a lot of fun and a decent raed with some nice illustrations :) have fun with this book!
Published 12 months ago by alex
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Fantastic
There is a Dahl shaped hole in the world, and Ivan Brett is the one to fill it. It's not often that you read a young author's debut book and see such an imaginative and witty... Read more
Published on 10 Sep 2012 by MrIke
3.0 out of 5 stars Tries a bit too hard
Having reached the end of the wonderful Mr Gum books by Andy Stanton I was looking for something else to try on my two sons. We gave this a go but none of us were gripped. Read more
Published on 17 May 2012 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Good enough fun for younger readers ...
This might be quite a fun read for younger readers but I did not find it particularly engaging and don't think I would have done when I was young either. Read more
Published on 29 Jan 2012 by pacem et amorem
3.0 out of 5 stars Good fun read for 9-11-year-olds
My son read this book and commented:
This is one of 2011s must-read books for the 9+ age group. Read more
Published on 21 Dec 2011 by Ms. Sophy Friend
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Hilarious
The book is entertaining enough for my kids (aged 6 & 8) but really this is standard fodder. The story centers around a kid who is an approximation of normal in a town full of... Read more
Published on 6 Sep 2011 by robotfish
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun read!
I liked the the town, Corne-on-the-Kobb, which really is full of idiots. Casper is brainy and adventurous. His only friend, Lamp, likes pink boxer shorts and making things. Read more
Published on 12 Jun 2011 by Probationer
4.0 out of 5 stars OK, particularly for 9 - 11 year old boys
My ten year old daughter is a voracious reader, and whizzed though this. She enjoyed it, but the humour is boyish and childish. Read more
Published on 8 Jun 2011 by CMB
5.0 out of 5 stars Definetely a recomended read.Utterly funny .
Review from my 8 year old son: "It was so good and funny I've aready read it 12 times. Ivan has great imagination and dreams up great adventures for Casper and his friend, Lamp".
Published on 27 May 2011 by Alison
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect class reading book - year 5s love it.
I have just started reading Casper Candlewacks to a year 5 class. They love it! I had to keep stopping so their laughter didn't drown out the next bit(so there were many pauses! Read more
Published on 26 May 2011 by RosA
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