Saturday 12 September 2020

Funny Kid: Belly Flop


Funny Kid: Belly Flop by Matt Stanton (ABC Books) PB RRP $14.99 ISBN: 9780733340604

 Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

 Max Walburt does not like swimming. He doesn’t understand why he needs to pretend to be a fish. And he certainly does not want to participate in the swimming carnival. Helped by his friends – and, surprisingly, his archenemy, Abby Purcell – Max manages to get the carnival cancelled by ruining the public pool. But when he discovers Abby’s plan to make them all do the Maths Olympiad instead of the swimming carnival, Max convinces his teacher to hold the carnival in Tyson and Pip’s massive pool instead. Although Abby gets her just deserts, Max’s race ends up being a real bummer – in the funniest way possible.

 Aimed at kids aged seven and over, Funny Kid: Belly Flop is a laugh-a-minute riot from the opening page. Matt Stanton’s use of present tense throughout the book draws the reader right into the action, where butt jokes are more contagious than chicken pox. The swimming carnival setting is very familiar for youngsters, but Matt takes it up a notch by having Max pull a plethora of imaginative pranks that will make readers giggle and gasp in turn.

Like all Funny Kid books, this one features Matt’s iconic black-and-white illustrations on just about every spread. In addition to gently breaking up the text into bite-size chunks for new readers, these images add a layer of visual humour to the story. Lengthy dialogue exchanges are energised by the insertion of character illustrations and speech bubbles, ensuring that young eyes do not wander from the pages.

 Funny Kid: Belly Flop is sure to make a splash among kids who are keen to dive into a pool of humour. Like synchronised swimmers, the clever text and cartoon illustrations work together to create an entertaining spectacle that only gets better with every viewing.

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