Review Blog

Dec 30 2018

Uncle Gobb and the plot plot by Michael Rosen

cover image

Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2018. ISBN 9781408873946
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Themes: Nonsense. Malcolm's new problem presents itself immediately - in the middle of the night in fact. Mum and Malcolm, aided to a small degree by his nose genie, discover Uncle Gobb gearing up to turn his Dread Shed into a school for 'important facts and rich knowledge'.
Perhaps because this is a post fact world, for which Uncle Derek Gobb is not equipped, his plot (both his plan and the name of the land near the school) do not gain traction even with the help of his own genie, disguised as Fred Shed. Will Malcolm's disenchanted and grumpy Uncle Gobb succeed in opening the Dread Shed School next to Malcolm's school?
The anachronistic Uncle Gobb makes an hilarious comeback in this series that began with The Dread Shed and The Green Heads. Neal Layton's charcoal comics and key words complement Michael Rosen's narrative anarchy in that familiar way of a father constructing a nonsensical story off the cuff to delight a child at bed time.
In this manner, sometimes Rosen makes sense and sometimes not. There is no fourth wall to suspend disbelief and no apologies made when events or motives are incredible. All's well, because Malcolm's mental meanderings and two witty weasels commenting on Rosen's text, teach young readers a great deal about the art of constructing a narrative.
As with much of Michael Rosen's work, Uncle Gobb and the Plot Plot is partially recorded on his youtube channel. Visit https://youtu.be/pRxi6_XBaNk to hear those early chapters read by the oddball author himself - plus flashbacks of Spike Milligan for unwitting grandparents.
Deborah Robins

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