It is not often that a book makes me laugh out loud, and even less often that it is a children's book, but having just finished reading You're a Bad Man Mr. Gum to my children I can testify that it had me in stitches to the point where I actually had to stop reading for a few minutes to compose myself.
This is a stupidly funny adventure about the grim Mr. Gum, who is rather like Mr. Twit but more erudite. Mr. Grim has to keep his garden tidy even though he hates being tidy, because if he doesn't, a bad tempered fairy smashes him round the head with a frying pan. Mr. Gum's life gets considerably more painful when Jake the huge dog takes a liking to his garden and decides to play in it. Mr Gum has to take his revenge on Jake.
There are silly jokes and daft puns and stupid characters, but the main thing I loved, and which I found funny and highly original, was the wonderful way Stanton uses language in this book. He uses a very colloquial form, which works brilliantly and just makes the whole book accessible and funny.
The book has really dynamic illustrations and not too many words on the page for those children who may be struggling with the weight of words on a page, but who want to gravitate towards something more challenging than standard picture books. I loved it, and so did my 11, 7 and 4 year old.