Morris Gleitzman has been a frozen-chicken thawer, fashion-industry trainee, department-store Santa, and screenwriter, among other things. Now he's one of Australia's best-loved children's book authors.
"Never trust a human." Those are the last words of cane toad Limpy's Uncle Preston, "the ones he'd said just before he was flattened by a funeral procession," in Australian writer Gleitzman's (Two Weeks with the Queen) hilarious dark comedy. In fact Limpy has watched countless relatives get run over by highway traffic and, out of deference, rolls up their dried bodies, takes them home and stockpiles them ("Well, don't just leave him lying around in your room," says Limpy's Mum on one such occasion. "That room's a pigsty. I'm tired of tidying up dead relatives in there"). Not content to accept his parents' explanations for his family's advanced mortality rate (all the really nutritious flies hang out near the highway), Limpy is convinced that humans hate cane toads, and he sets off on a farflung journey to find a human being and determine the cause of their enmity. Despite his dearly departed uncle's admonition, Limpy discovers that humans might not all be so bad, as he falls in with a female athlete who, he believes, will help him apply to become an Olympic Games mascot. While the book was originally published for the Sydney Olympics in 2000, and some of the humor has to do with native Aussie animals' hurt feelings at being rejected as mascots, most of the comedy should travel well. Saucy fun from start to finish. Ages 8-12. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Gr 3-6-Author Morris Gleitzman's smooth Aussie-accented voice deftly narrates this story (Random, 2004) about a young cane toad's daring quest to change humankind's hatred for his species. After watching one of his favorite uncles deliberately flattened beneath the wheels of a car, Limpy (so-named for a bum leg which was "a bit squashed" after his own unlucky run-in with a car) sets off to find a way to reverse the human view of cane toads. The gross-out humor and short chapters make this an ideal choice for boys and reluctant readers. Kids might need a little help with some of the Australian dialect (e.g. "petrol station"), but they will delight in the tale and cheer on this unlikely hero.-Jennifer Iserman, Dakota County Library, Burnhaven Branch, Burnsville, MN Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.