I read this series with my children a long time ago but the laughter still echoes down the years. The bizarre story of a family of skeletons living together in a suburban house was irresistible… night after night. “Let’s go out and frighten somebody!”
Twelve-year-old Dermot Milligan is overweight. In the first book he faces the twin horrors of a psychiatrist ordering him to keep a diary of his eating habits – “everyone knows diaries are for girls” – and a visit to Camp Fatso. Funny and strangely insightful.
For me the funniest Dahl. Mr and Mrs Twit are unforgettable creations: ugly, unhygienic and given to playing ferociously cruel tricks on each other. How could anyone grow a beard after reading the first chapter?
Boyce’s work is laugh-out-loud funny, but always grounded in reality. Framed is set during a financial recession and based on a true story – museum treasures concealed in a slate mine. I loved it because of what it said about the transformative power of art.
Still a landmark in comic writing. Need I describe the plot which begins when Arthur Dent survives the destruction of the Earth, knocked down by the Vogons to make way for a new bypass? The answer to that – and all other questions – is, of course, 42.
Where Seagulls Dare by Anthony Horowitz is out now (Walker Books, £7.99). You can buy it from The Big Issue shop on Bookshop.org, which helps to support The Big Issue and independent bookshops.
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