Me: So - can you tell me what the book's about?
Casper: It's about Class 4B - the worst class in the world - and they have this thing called 'Show and tell' where they show off about stuff. The head teacher, Miss Bottomley Blunt, whose hair is shaped like a bottom, is extremely mean and she has a humongous laminated list of rules.
The teacher, Mr Nidgett, who is very nice most of the time, has a pair of emergency shoes for in case anything gets spilled on his shoes. Miss Bottomley Blunt is horrible to him - it's a bit like in Matilda, where Miss Trunchbull is horrible to Miss Honey.
The class has a log in the playground that they call the Smelly Death Log, which is hollow and has bird poo on it - they think that if you touch the bird poo for more than one second, you will be swallowed by the ghost pigeon.
Me: Is there a character who's the hero?
Casper: There's no one hero, the whole class is important. They have lots of foolproof plans, but often, something goes wrong with them.
Me: Was there a particular bit you specially liked?
Casper: I liked the bit where they made biscuits from a recipe that wasn't very clear - that was really funny. They didn't have all the right ingredients, so for instance they used chutney instead of jam.
I also liked the bit where Lacey Braithwaite lies about some biscuits she got in a shop called Superior Biscuits. She says the jam inside them is made of 'strawberries picked by highly-trained monkeys', and that the butter in them is made of 'milk from the world's most expensive cows', and this is obviously a terrible lie.*
Me: What did you think of the illustrations?
Casper: They were really good. Look, these are the pictures of the characters - I'll send you them.
Me: What sort of ages would you recommend this book for?
Casper: I would recommend this book for boys and girls from 7-12 - you probably shouldn't read it to smaller children, because it might make them get up to mischief. There's a LOT of mischief in this book!
Me: Thank you very much!
* Casper has become a very expert baker during lockdown, so that may be why he particularly noticed the biscuits.
Return to REVIEWS HOMEPAGE