It's amazing! Suddenly, a group of children who previously had no real interest in books or in reading are hooked!
2/3 of my class are now reading David Walliams books; and nearly half of them are reading this title. They cannot put this book down! Laughter and giggles permeate through the classroom during Individual Reading sessions. I walk into the room to take the register at the beginning of the day to silence ... everyone's nose is in a book! Sections are shared; small portions are read aloud - the addiction is passed from one child to another! They have even infected me! I just had to read it to see what it was that was keeping them all so engrossed!
Plot Summary (without spoilers!)
Zoe is 11 and has just started 'big school', where she is bullied horrendously for 3 reasons: - she is terribly poor; she has red hair and she is short for her size. Her father is an redundant ice-cream maker; and her mother is dead. Her stepmother is vile! She is totally obese and eats nothing other than prawn cocktail flavour crisps! One day, Zoe is devastated to find that Gingernut, the pet hamster that she had been training was dead. What can she do? They cannot afford a replacement and, even if they could, her stepmother is very anti-rodents; then Zoe finds a baby rat in her bedroom and her adventures begin!
Whilst the humour is quite 'wicked' in places, it is no more so than many of Roald Dahl's titles (particularly George's Marvellous Medicine, The Witches and The Twits.)
Overall, I have to say: - Thank you, David Walliams - you have inspired a group of reluctant readers to absorb themselves in books. Long may it continue!
Highly recommended for 8 to 12 year olds with a wicked sense of humour!