The Vanilla Slice Kid by Adam Wallace and Jack Wodhams and Illustrations by Tom Gittus (Ford Street Publishing) PB RRP $14.95 ISBN 978-1-925272-02-4
Reviewed by Kate Foster
It was my absolute pleasure, to read and review this terrific little book -- with the help of my ten-year-old son who fell instantly in need with the title. We love fun. We love silly. We love escapism. And The Vanilla Slice Kid delivered on all three counts.
The story is about a young chap with a special talent called Archie Cunningham, who just wants to belong and be loved. He's born to a cruel cake-munching mother, and a dad who does what he can to provide for his cruel wife. Neither parent ever actually wanted Archie; that is until he was tickled by the midwife and produced two tiny cupcakes from his palms and fired them at his mum.
Hidden away from the world – no school, no friends, and forced to make cupcakes for Cunningham’s Cupcakes – Archie grows up not knowing any different. This is until the tax department discover his parents aren't interested in paying taxes and then find out Archie's never been to school. So at twelve years old, Archie finally gets to be a normal boy.
However, after just half an hour into his first day, Archie breaks his promise to his parents when he's picked on and produces two vanilla slices from his palms. He's quickly recruited by his kind teacher, Mr Tomkins, and taken to The Centre.
But things aren't quite as they first seem (are they ever?) After much analysis to discover why his cakes are constantly changing and growing, Archie is delivered some dire news. He has to escape The Centre. Fast. Before he explodes. But who can he trust to assist him? Since his vanilla slice incident at school has gone viral, the world has gone cake-crazy.
The Vanilla Slice Kid is heaps of fun. It brings smiles aplenty. Although the General stole the show for me with his hilarious recounts of how he lost most of his body parts, the characters are wonderful, the story chaotic, and the end result satisfyingly positive. Sometimes life calls for nothing more than light-hearted, entertaining belly-laughs; not every book needs to teach children a heavy life lesson. And The Vanilla Slice Kid is perfect for this. I will certainly be looking for other books by Adam Wallace and Jack Woodhams.