Casper Candlewacks in Death by Pigeon! Paperback – 4 Jan 2011
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“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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
NIce book, a lot of fun and a decent raed with some nice illustrations :) have fun with this book!Published on 18 Sept. 2013 by alex
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 morePublished on 10 Sept. 2012 by MrIke
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 morePublished on 17 May 2012 by Amazon Customer
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 morePublished on 29 Jan. 2012 by pacem et amorem
My son read this book and commented:
This is one of 2011s must-read books for the 9+ age group. Read more
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 morePublished on 6 Sept. 2011 by robotfish
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 morePublished on 12 Jun. 2011 by Probationer
My ten year old daughter is a voracious reader, and whizzed though this. She enjoyed it, but the humour is boyish and childish. Read morePublished on 8 Jun. 2011 by CMB
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