Illustrated by Chris Mould
” Spangles McNasty was nasty to everyone and everything, everywhere, all of the time.
He had a heart as cold as a box of fish fingers in a supermarket freezer, a brain brimming with badness and a head bristling with baldness.
There was only one thing Spangles liked more than being nasty, and that was collecting spangly things: shiny, sparkly, glittery, spangly things.
Of course, when he said collecting, he meant ‘taking without asking or paying’, or as everyone else calls it, stealing.”
It’s the first day of summer, so let’s take a little holiday away from all the blooming rain. Spangles McNasty and the Fish of Gold, suitable for children aged 7 years plus, is just the thing to transport you there, with its 270 pages of seaside silliness. Loaded to the gills (sorry) with Chris Mould’s terrific comic illustrations and packed full of irresistibly silly characters, Spangles McNasty and the Fish of Gold is a welcome new addition to the world of funny books.
Spangles himself is both wonderfully naughty and a bit, shall we say, daft. We learn that he is labouring under the misapprehension that goldfish grow to the size of whales and are made of solid gold. Seeing this as an excellent opportunity to get rich quick, Spangles is plotting to steal all the goldfish he can get his thieving hands on with the help of accomplice Sausage-face Pete.
This inevitably brings them both to the local funfair, where the ancient and pink haired Wendy McKenzie has been offering goldfish as prizes for pretty much ever. One thing’s for sure though: young Freddie Taylor’s not going to be letting them get away with stealing from Wendy. He’s visiting the fair solely (sorry again) to win a goldfish as his mum’s told him that proving he can care for a fish is the only thing standing between him and getting a pet dog. When all the fish go missing, Freddie’s determined to get to the bottom of it.
Will Spangles and Sausage-face Pete be satisfied though with ‘collecting’ Wendy’s goldfish or will they find even bigger fish to fry?
Spangles McNasty and the Fish of Gold is one of those wonderful books that only kids and true fans of Spike Milligan will get fully. Children and enlightened adults alike can look forward to reading such corkers as
- “Camper vans are, of course, little completely mobile homes (like tortoises, but faster and with more seat belts).”
- “Fog is a curious business. Some people say it’s thick clouds that don’t know where the sky is. Other people say it’s just clouds that are scared of heights.”
- “‘Are you the ghost of the apple pie?’ she asked. ‘No, Marjory, it’s me, Mayor Jackson.”
Plus, it’s worth its weight in gold (sorry again) for the good work it’ll do in bringing reading joy to gazillions of new converts. Reluctant and not so confident readers are going to love it because it’s been made nice and easy to read, with bite sized chunks of text interspersed with illustrations. You can also enjoy reading it without needing to understand every single word because funny books break down these boundaries. Basically, there’s plenty here to entertain everyone, regardless of ability.
I’d recommend it to any Year Three teacher looking to engage new independent readers, but equally I’d also happily plant it in the hands of a bright Year Five boy and be confident that he’ll not only enjoy it but will be passing it on to his friends too.
Spangles McNasty and the Fish of Gold is a total crowd pleaser and therefore needs to be available in schools and libraries everywhere right now. I’m hooked*.
Big thanks to Andersen Press for sending me this glorious copy.
*Sorry again. I do realise these fish puns are wearing a bit fin. I’ll stop now, but if you think of any more, do let minnow.