Review Blog

Sep 04 2014

My life (series) by Tristan Bancks

cover image

Ill. by Gus Gordon. Random House, 2014.
My life and other stuff I made up ISBN 9780857983190
My life and other stuff that went wrong ISBN 9780857980373
Tom Weekly likes to write stories about his life because even though some things go wrong, he still gets to be the hero in his own book. In a collection of short stories reminiscent of his own hero Paul Jennings, Tristan Bancks has breathed new life into that gross humour that boys of a certain age, particularly, revel in. Whether he's writing about a birthmark on his back that others tell him looks like a poo, or defending himself against a killer magpie Tom Weekly tells the tale with ease as he weaves in and out of trouble, taking the most mundane and innocuous situations and crafting them into an event as only a true storyteller can do.
Accompanied by the exquisite 'no frills' line drawings by Gus Gordon which delve straight to the point (compare Jack's nan with Tom's nan), these stories will engage younger independent readers who are looking for a reason to read for pleasure. They are perfect read-alouds of just the right length - read one or two stories and then offer the books for lending and not only will there be a reserve list but you will be able to satisfy the need while they wait by introducing Jennings (as popular as ever), Milne, Kinney and Griffiths, showing that there is not only something entertaining about this reading thing but also that the library's shelves have plenty to offer. (It's called reaching the long tail - those who don't visit because they believe there is nothing relevant to their needs.) But, as Tom warns them, if they borrow it and don't like it then they need to return it to the library because 'librarians get kind of upset about that. Believe me.'
But because the technology is available and accessible, there is a host of online stuff including ebook versions of each title as well as an invitation for readers to send their own ideas for a story to TheTomWeekly@gmail.com. Check out www.tristanbancks.com/2013/11/my-life-other-stuff-that-went-wrong.html  There's a lot of reading just on that site alone!
Barbara Braxton

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