Three Wacky Families Books by Jackie French: Garden Gnome, Gorilla & Vampire

My Uncle Gus the Garden GnomeMy Uncle Gus the Garden Gnome by Jackie French

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wacky Families (#4)

Jackie French is a prolific Australian children's writer whom I've never had the chance to read until now. This is a deceptively simple short chapter book set in a magical world of bogeymen, tooth fairy and, witch parents. Tom's best friends are Mog, a big hairy thing and Fra, the ghost of a two-hundred year old assassinated princess. His Uncle Gus is a magical garden gnome and a girl at school's mother has put a bad luck spell on him because he won't take her to the dance. The book is plain silly fun with lots of humour but it's also a heartwarming tale of finding happiness, the joy of discovering your true self and learning the importance of family. This is a very sweet book which I found very quaint, even with its doses of toilet humour. The illustration was lacklustre though and could have enhanced the story had it been more appealing.

My Gran the Gorilla by Jackie French

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wacky Families (#6)

This story was not as good as the previous one I read in this series (the Garden Gnome) as it seemed a bit forced and tried too hard. It wasn't until halfway through that I took a liking to some of the characters and found myself enjoying the antics. The books in this series are entirely unrelated, except for the theme of a wacky family, so from what I've seen of the two I've read so far some are going to be better than others. These are quick easy reads, with the humour aimed at younger kids including the obligatory toilet joke or two. Not bad. I'm going to read the other two I have but I did enjoy "Uncle Gus" the best so far. The illustration has improved considerably since the first one I read.

My Auntie Chook the Vampire Chicken by Jackie French

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wacky Families (#7)

The 7th book in the Wacky Family series is the third which I've read and my favourite so far. These books can be read in any order as they have no common plots or characters, just a theme of *strange* families. This time we meet a vampire family and learn how and where vampires are living today. A boy/girl cousin duo take to an adventure and find out more about the world at large when the boy's pet vampire frog is kidnapped. They meet the black sheep of the family, Auntie Chook, for the first time and all three of them end up foiling the plot of evil robots to annihilate the entire vampire race. A way over the top plot, with the requisite toilet humour of this series, but I found the three main characters endearing and couldn't help but giggling through this wacky story. For the type of silly story that it is, kids will have a hoot with this one.

I have one more book left in this series that I have, My Pa the Polar Bear, but I'm going to leave it for a bit and see how I feel about it coming back to the series fresh.


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