So Wrong Uncensored by Michael Wagner illustrated by Wayne Bryant (Billy Goat Books) PB RRP $14.99 ISBN: 9780994251756
Reviewed by Dianne Bates
This book is the first in So Wrong, described by the publisher as ‘a humorous, hyperactive kind of series that targets 10-13 year old reluctant readers’. The series even has an accompanying website, www.sowrongbooks.com, and book club that hopefully will attract kids who wouldn’t ever normally join a book club.
The first sign that this book is ‘different’ is on the first page with its message, ‘HEY YOO! Wee need to tork.’ It then asks the reader, ‘Isnt it tyme yoo stopped reeding boring books onse and for all?’
The invented spelling continues for some pages with cartoon heads inviting the reader to ‘…gon on… reed it now… youll luv it.’ This is followed by ‘segments’ from the book’s hero, Mitey Mikey, who is supposed to have filmed the following stories. The first story -- in conventional spelling -- is titled ‘The Nappy’ and of course there is reference to a pooey nappy that at one stage flies through the air aimed at a dad.
As this is said to be a film, there are, of course, a number of (satirical) ads, the first being one for a ‘very private school’ (clothing not necessary). Other stories are titled ‘Soccerhead’, ‘The Veree Hungree Caterpooper’ and ‘Mitey Mikey’s Sampel Lyfe Lesson.’ Throughout the book there are black and white cartoon illustrations, some of which make use of speech balloons.
It’s all very over the top, but in what the publisher describes as ‘a bit naughty but always good-natured.’ As two former reluctant readers themselves, the author and illustrator (both Australian) have created the book (and eventually a series) they wish had existed when they were kids. It would be good to have the opinions of today’s reluctant readers. One imagines they will be attracted to the book, not just for the ‘Uncensored’ label on the front cover and the zany adventures with the frequent plot twists and surprises, but for the one-on-each page lively illustrations.
So Wrong titles are due to roll out every six to nine months; the expected audience is reluctant readers (principally boys) aged 10 to 13 years.