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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 6 September 2001
I still have my original first edition of Fungus from 1978, a book which was a firm favourite then and remains so to this day. I read Raymond Briggs' book so many times that I can still quote from it ("Nothing is permanent but woe" as seen on a bogey sandwich board; "Fungus inspects his trousers which have been marinading overnight 'mmmm! these really stink!'")and I find the book enduringly funny yet poignant. Fungus is a decent hard-working bogey but asks himself what is is all for? why do bogeymen exist? why do they have to pester and frighten the Drycleaners? (as we who live on the surface are known.) It seems as if no one has the answer, not even his beloved wife Mildew "the ugliest woman in Bogeydom."
Children (and doubtless many adults) will love this brilliantly illustrated book, and all the detail so lovingly described within - it is funny, rude, tender, thoughtful and even moving. I cannot recommend it enough.
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on 28 December 2015
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on 28 February 2003
My mother first got this book out of the local library for me when I was about seven or eight, and now at the age of twenty-one, it remains one of my favourite books. I even named my first pet budgie Fungus (well, it was pale green!). "Fungus the Bogeyman" is one of those stories that can be enjoyed by all ages. Some of the in-joking of the narrative may only be understood by the slightly older child, but even the younger ones will love the ick factor of Fungus's life.
The perfect antidote to our over-sanitised lives.
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'Repulsive but none the less compulsive'. This classic Raymond Briggs book hasn't got a real storyline. It's more like an comic strip encyclopedia on the life of bogeymen (Fungus) and bogeywomen (wife Mildew) and their bogeychildren (son Mould). The book just charts a day in the life of a bogeyman, who it seems, exists merely to torment us 'Drycleaners'. This clever study of bogeydom revels in all things revolting, slimy, putrid, and lavatorial, and even raises deep questions on the meaning of Bogeydom life.

The book is filled with visual and literary gags, e.g. hidden on Mildrew's bathroom shelf there's 'FemStench' perfume which is real Eau de Toilete (toilet water), plus you finally find out what Great Aunt Ada Doom of Cold Comfort Farm really saw in the woodshed as a child (and yes it was something nasty). This book would be of interest to any kid over 7, boys might go for it at an earlier age than girls - although be warned it's not suitable for sensitive parents. It's also ideal for well read teenagers and young adults, who will appreciate the sophisticated humour more. So if you ever wondered what makes the bogeyman hiding under your bed tick, get this superbly illustrated and funny book.
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on 23 December 2012
Having bought this for my other half, whom I was shocked to realise had reached the age of 38 without even having heard of it, I couldn't resist a few minutes refreshing my memory of it before wrapping!! The way the book is written and laid out is very quirky but this doesn't at all make it difficult or annoying to read, that said it is definitely aimed at competent readers (I actually snorted tea out my nose reading the earlier review by the parent giving it a poor rating for not being suitable for a 4 year old) I remember discovering and loving it at ten but having just looked at it again I'm pretty sure it is going to be swiftly claimed by my 7 year old daughter after my other half has read it as it's something I think she'll like, everyone's different.
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Briggs is an acknowledged political commentator, widely applauded for his pictorial treatise against the futility of nuclear war in his opus 'When the wind blows'. However, few in academia have taken it upon themselves to delve into the political and sociological intricacy of this, one of his earlier, and without doubt most subversive works. Indeed, here he ponders the futility of existence itself.

Briggs drills down to the core of what it means to be Bogey, the great joy and comfort that manifests in the soft cloying darkness of despair; and in so doing Briggs slowly reveals to the reader the murky fears lurking in the gloomy depths of their own subconcious. There is Bogey in all of us, lest we forget; scrubbing vigourously (both physically and metaphorically) to remove the grime of nature and replace it with manufactured odours designed to disguise and decieve both our olfactory senses and our concious sensibilities. Briggs tome signposts the enlightened truth to all those who would see it.
The structure of Bogeydom is clearly an allegorical metaphor for our own society. The stark difference being only that the dark foreboding heart of Bogeydom is laid bare and open for all on the page, whereas in our worlds it is camoflaged beneath a facade of the superficial ; a veneer of clean civility layered on that inky black foundation that we so clearly share with the Bogey.

The politics of Bogeydom are Nietzschian in formulation, derived in part from the confusion between good and bad and the blurring of the age-old dichotomy so that no longer are they polar opposites, but exist as an entwined entity of undefined moral code on a multi-dimensional continuum. Like all things in Bogeydom the politics too are muddy. Fungus ponders his place and his role, and at times the reader is tantalised with the expectation that they are witnessing an empathetic iconoclast about to forge his own destiny, but ultimately Fungus is resigned to his lot, a thinker not a doer. The nihillistic qualities of the Bogey, both moral and existential, and of Fungus in particular by way of his internal dialogue, are presented in an alluring pathos that can only guide the the reader moth-like to conclude that perhaps it is ultimately possible to mentally transcend the complications and impositions of modern society if only we used less soap.
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Amazon link all the versions, book both paper and hard backs, audio abridged and unabridged together so this really confuses things.

But in this case the confusion is all the more for this is NOT a read version of Fungus the Bogeyman rather it is the televised and sanitized version that was on TV and has been released on DVD.

This means that if you are reading this as a review of the original book Fungus the Bogeyman then this review is not relevant.
It should only be read as a review of the audio version.
Clear with me?

Fungus the Bogeyman was a simply brilliant, ground breaking book that was, lets face it, for adults.
The words, language and jokes were for a very high reading age and many of the words and references simply went over the children's heads.

It was and still is a brilliant book- never bettered.

The DVD release is an altogether difference book.
New characters have been brought in to replace Fungus and he takes a back seat to his two children and the dry-cleaning family (i.e. humans i.e. US) that he comes into contact with.
The adult wording, plot and inferences have been taken over to become a BBC CeeBeebies type standard.
I'm not saying that is a bad thing- far from it the two are completely different.

It's a little like taking Death on the Orient express and bringing Thomas the Tank engine with Clarabelle and Annie in its place. The murder has gone and the Fat controller's sandwiches and pork pies have been stolen instead.

Clunes reads the story well but my goodness I was totally bored by the sanitized story.

If you want a book of the DVD then this is for you if you loved Fungus the Bogeyman with Raymond Briggs in full flow then this is NOT the book for you.

Amazon simply should not have them under the same banner they are as different as the Sound of Music is to Death in Venice.
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on 19 October 2000
I remember this fondly from my childhood. Great to show the kids what goes on under the bed or in the cupboard.
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on 16 November 2000
I read this book as a kid and it kept me up for weeks, not just because I was fascinated by the antics of Fungus and his family, but because it was such a magnetic book. The illustrations brought home the disgusting nature of the real life of a Bogeyman.
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on 8 October 2009
I bought this CD story of Fungus the Bogeyman for my children to listen to in the car. I have now heard it four times, and am not tiring of it yet! Martin Clunes' reading style is perfect for this story, and his different accents are subtly done. As we neared the end of the story, we were hoping the journey would not end too soon!

This is not ideal for children under 6 years old, as the concepts are tricky for younger children to understand, but anyone older than that will not be disappointed.
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