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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 January 2016
Excellent! I'm always impressed with Morris Gleitzman, an Antipodean Morpurgo.

This has possibly the best opening line I've ever come across in a children's book (and possibly an adult's) - one I had to read a couple of times to make sure I'd interpreted it correctly. Warning to teachers - if you're reading this out loud there ARE a few (mildly) rude words!

Anyway, this opening is GUARANTEED to capture attention and get a reader continuing. A very funny start, but this soon turned serious for me as I saw the direction the story was taking.

Angus seems like a pretty 11-year-old. Obsessed with pirates, he daydreams a bit in school. But outside of school, we see he's actually almost a sole carer for two younger siblings as his mother fulfils her own dreams as a TV star (with a perfect family, one her real family tune into each night in order to see their mum), and their three separate dads play hand-round-the-kids in order to live THEIR own lives. Angus pulls himself taut trying to look after the brother and sister he loves and have his own childhood.

It that wasn't enough of a theme for a sub 200-page children's book, Gleitzman manages to interweave a new friend into Angus's story, *SPOILER ALERT* an Asian girl who is having her own family issues with an unwanted marriage. *END SPOILER ALERT*

The two stories mesh together brilliantly, and Angus is adorably selfless and kind at trying to put everyone else first.

I found myself becoming more and more furious at Angus's mother and father (and stepfathers) at their, quite frankly neglect and abusive behaviour towards the children. Well written, as Gleitzman manages to keep the tone relatively light, in all but a few key scenes, so readers shouldn't become too distressed at the way Angus is treated. As mother to a young boy myself, I was quite upset thinking about my own boy in this situation and what kind of parent that would make me.

The reader, though, will probably not come to this book from that angle. The characters manage to handle quite adult themes in wonderfully naive yet mature ways, talking about IUDs for example quite matter-of-factly.

While this is probably a simple enough read for a 10-12 year old, we do have contraception, sex, pregnancy as key themes in the story so less mature readers may not be ready to read this solo. They WILL have questions!

There are some very sweet and realistic scenes with Angus's siblings (usually involving dripping ice cream - and nappies!), and a lovely relationship developing between Angus and Rindi. The book manages to gently mock TV soaps and male models, and as an adult, I found it a thought-provoking read, which surprised me.

I would recommend this for KS3 particularly, though upper end of primary school will doubtless want to read this for the title (and first line) alone, though it may not be judged right for all 10-11 year olds by parents. It covers some important themes and raises a lot of questions.
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on 12 September 2015
Angus Solomon had one of the main parts in the school play, it was all that occupied his mind during sex education and got told off for day dreaming, at the end of school Angus picked up his younger brother and sister, mum worked and the children's fathers took no interest in them so it was Angus's job to take care of them until mum came home, mum was a soap opera star on the tv which by watching the show was probably the closest the children got to her, Angus had to clean up, make lunches, do the dishes and his homework before mum came home

Angus's dad pops in, he is being paid by Angus's mum to watch the kids but he doesn't all he wants is to loan money, at school Angus was rehearing his pirate play, he was playing Bluebeard, Stacy a girl in his class accused him of taking her Tamagotchi, Angus was hurt and denied it, Ms Lowry announces all rehearsals would now be after school, Angus pleads with her because he knows he won't be able to make it, Angus asks his dad to help with the kids but he is to busy, neither Leo's dad or Imogen's dad will help

Angus was told because he wasn't making rehearsals he was now out of the play, that night Angus cried, in the morning he was surprised to see another man in his mother's bed, he realised that sleeping together meant sex and he did not want another baby to look after, mum went away for the weekend and Angus, Leo and Imogen were moved backwards and forwards between the dad's houses, Angus decided he must stop his mother having another baby and went to the Family Planning Clinic to get some advice, he left Leo and Imogen outside, after being thrown out he realised they were missing, then found them in the park playing with a girl called Rindy

He told Rindi why he wanted to stop his mother having babies and they decided to go to a medical convention to get some sort of birth control, arriving there they look for Diaphragms and intra-uterine devices, after distracting a sales lady they make a grab but find they are tied down, Rindi chews through the ropes just as they are thrown out

Rindi tells Angus she is to have an arranged marriage to a 22yrs old Indian man he was to arrive soon, she was very upset, Angus goes to her house to talk her parents out of it but it didn't work, Angus tries to discredit Rindi so the man would not want her but only gets into trouble, then Angus came up with the plan to change everything, he was going to marry Rindi at the tv studio behind a wedding series taking place to make it legal, this just caused an incredible amount of trouble and Rindi was taken to India

As the story continues Angus causes havoc at the school play, Rindi's wedding takes place, Angus is furious and we have a very messy ending
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on 15 September 2013
Daughter said it was pretty good although she read it within 6 hours. Also what a great name for teenage book
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on 3 September 2013
one of the best openings of any book i've ever read, a lovely coming of age story. in one word: hilarious!
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on 22 May 2013
As described and arrived promptly. Completely satisfied, but would have been good to save on individual packaging for multiple purchase.
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on 17 February 2010
I bought this as a book for mny nephew's 8th birthday. He is NOT old enough to read this. Especially according to his parents. I disagreed until I read the book myself.

Its hilarious but the opening pages include a sex-ed class. :-/
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on 14 March 2008
My son is a reader, he reads a book a night... this one he has read over and over, he says it's the best book he's ever read. Not for the faint hearted, I'm sure it's due to the fact he relates to the toilet humor and rude bits, but hey... they need an outlet at this age and how great if it's in the form of book.

A must buy!!!
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on 2 September 2007
I read this book to my Year 6 class and they loved it - however, it is one of those books that has a lot for adults as well, as my reading of it was occasionally punctuated by my own snorts, sniggers and tuts as Morris Gleitzman dug his characters deeper into the mire! There's a lot that happens in this story - Angus, the hero, is a normal boy who has too much responsibility thrust upon him, and really he just wants to have time to be a kid; his friend Rindi is in a different position, but essentially has the same problem - she is being made to grow up too soon. This story has it all - it's extremely funny, has great characters with infuriating adults who have no idea what it's like to be a kid; it shows how life is really unfair, has heroics and daring-do, and ultimately a very satisfactory ending. I recommend this book to adults, teens and tweens alike - it's great!
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on 30 April 2006
So says my daughter, although I have to admit that reading it with her, I enjoyed it just as much myself. Touching, funny, and unputdownable. You could imagine there are some poor kids in real life out there who, like Angus, are in the same boat struggling to look after their younger siblings. Great stuff if you don't mind explaining to your child what contraception is all about!
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on 21 September 2005
Angus Solomonis the main character in this brilliant story by Morris Gleitzman, he is 12 years old and has 2 younger children 2 look after, (WARNING:DO NOT read this book if you are strong on whats fair and whats not, because this book is VERY unfair) it is a bit rude and don't read it if you are 8 and under because it might offend ur parents.Angus meets Rindi one day after school, and he thought HE had problems...
Read this book if u like books on family problems and everyday life.
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