As the third moon rises over Muddle Earth's Perfumed Bog, the twinkling lights are lit on a small houseboat, home to a wizard, Randalf, and his familiar, a very sarcastic budgie called Veronica. Randalf is in trouble: he's stony broke. He's just spent his last silver pipsqueak. There's only one way for a wizard to make cash on Muddle Earth, and that's by doing some magic.
There's just one problem: Randalf has lost his spell book. He's just got a fragment of paper with half a spell on it, telling him how to summon a Great Warrior Hero. The last one, Quentin the Cake-Baker, wasn't a great success. But this time, it's going to be different.
Meanwhile, life is about to change beyond recognition for Joe Jefferson, an ordinary schoolboy on ordinary Earth, and his dog, Henry. He is about to be introduced to a world of ogres and goblins, batbirds, pink stinky hogs, flying cupboards, and terrifying teddy bears.
© Chris Riddell and Paul Stewart; (P) Macmillan Publishers Ltd
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"Multiple age groups? No problem!"
Trying to match the requirements of a 6 yr old / (well read) 8 yr old plus parents is tricky. Every now-and-again you get it right - this book definitely did it for us.
To get ALL the jokes, it probably helps to be 40+ and have read Tolken, Terry Pratchet, watched Xena Warrior Princess, Wizard of Oz and the like. But if you haven't, its ok. There is still plenty to be entertained by, provided (of course) you are into warrior heroes, ogres and magical spells in the first place.
In fact, there's so much going on ALL THE TIME that I'm quite happy to listen to this one over and over. From the flying wardrobes, to the migraine prone dragon, to the adventures of the tiny teaspoon ... it all cracks on merrily. If you are driving, you may well miss some of the good bits (concentrate on the road!) and be happy to go back. My two laughed so loud at some bits, they missed the next 5 minutes, so we had to rewind anyway.
The narration is excellent. Lots of different characters well maintained. My son found book 2 at the library but to be honest, I think my reading skills might be a bit of an anti-climax. Here's hoping Audible have it too.
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