Oh Friday, you just get betterer and betterer! Readers will remember my anecdote of the dismay felt by my coterie of Friday fans, when the ‘last’ in the (original) series was announced, and was confirmed by my (then) recent conversation with Rachel over afternoon tea. Subsequently – and by then in a different school library – the kiddos went wild when they found out Friday’s adventures were off and running again. I now have some readers in university who still hang out for the latest update on Friday, her friends, her mishaps and successes – and of course, her love life!
Friday, Melly and Ian, along with Uncle Bernie and a few assorted newcomers to the quirky cast of characters, are once again embroiled in an art crime. As special consultants to Interpol, the teens are undercover as art students, as they try to establish the veracity of a supposedly genuine letter which reveals the famous Mona Lisa hanging in the Louvre, is a highly successful fake – and has been displayed as the real thing for a hundred years. This is a cold case with a difference it seems – or is it?
The trio’s investigations not only have Spratt’s hallmark idiosyncratic humour stamped all over them but raise current topics such as digital theft and art ‘terrorism’. It’s another action-packed instalment from our favourite teen detective, with the added bonus of the slowly evolving romance between Friday and Ian to bring smiles to readers’ dials.
Releasing with perfect timing to kick off a new school year, you would be wise to get this one on your shelves ASAP because those Friday Fans will be clamouring for it. Highly recommended for your readers from mid-primary upwards. I know I can’t wait to see what happens next!! (and seriously, this has, at least, Netflix series written all over – does it not??)
Now with a day off at my disposal, due to having no voice left with which to teach, I am trying to catch up with reviews, and really it is dead lucky I had already read this latest volume, because there is no doubt that strenuous laughing of the Spratt-induced kind would further reduce my vocal capabilities, so that it would be unlikely to recover them at all within the next week – – and really, where would that leave my adoring fans? (ok, I’m starting to sound like Nanny Piggins now – possibly overdoing the cold&flu meds).
This is a gorgeously galumptious smorgasbord which I can verify will appeal to a wide range of readers of discerning tastes (and as it happens, some who claim to be non-readers). Whether some Nanny Piggins (gosh, how I admire that porcine legend!) providing great insights into famous myths, legends and other historical tales, a mini Friday Barnes mystery or a completely bogus story about big sisters (which reeks heavily of the author’s own household), kiddos from around Year 4 will roll about on the floor with delight with the completely over-the-top antics and adventures herein. I am truly devastated that I no longer have my Year 9 terrorists -I mean, English classes – because after their unit of work on Romeo & Juliet, (their introduction to Shakespeare – now I could definitely write a book on that experience!) I would have loved to share with them the Nanny Piggins version of the Bard’s tragedy.
Honestly, you’d be mad to leave it off your orders list – so get cracking and buy it before the business manager cuts off your budget for the year! Highly recommended for all lovers of the absurd from around Year 4 upwards.
*snortle: A hearty laugh that is punctuated by a snort on the inhale.
Some readers of this blog may recall my review of the ‘re-appearance’ of Friday and her cronies. My kiddos at school lost their minds when it hit the shelves so make sure you stand back again because the rush will be on. Now that Friday et al are all teens, the secondary kids are tremendously excited to get back into one of their favourite series from primary school. They still relish the clever plots, Friday’s quirkiness and the unravelling of mysteries but also to enjoy the growing romances and relationships. Naturally, where Friday is concerned, romance is never going to be a smooth ride. Naturally, since her stint in jail, Friday is even more emotionally fragile, something her best friend Melanie pinpoints very astutely.
Friday is most definitely not avoiding big decisions (like working with her Uncle Bernie and Ian, her nemesis/boyfriend, investigating crimes) and she’s certainly not avoiding Ian and their growing romance (using the word very loosely). She is in fact, helping out her best friend’s brother in his hour of great need. Mel’s brother, Binky, is now living in the land of his beloved Ingrid and, following the directive of Ingrid’s stern father the King, is serving out the required term in the Norwegian army. All of this is fine but when Binky ends up being charged with dereliction of duty, he calls upon Friday to help him prove his innocence. Of course she does. But there’s more to come in Norway (and beyond): Princess Ingrid’s upcoming 21st birthday (and the mysterious incidents which keep preventing her return to Oslo), continuing art thefts across Europe, the reasons behind Binky’s set up and the connection with the Global Seed Vault.
Like all the Friday books this is a joyous romp with plenty of snort laugh moments but the growing depth to the plot lines, character development and interactions offers more for the serious and thoughtful reader. I’ll have great pleasure talking this one up in my new library in the coming weeks.
Highly recommended for your readers from Upper Primary to Mid-Secondary in particular. Thanks R. A. Spratt for another great adventure with everyone’s favourite daggy detective.
The hilarious author, R. A. Spratt, knows well that her stories make me snort laugh in an extremely undignified manner. I do my utmost to keep these moments private as I have noted that when reading hilarious stories from what is obviously a kids’ book on a train full of commuters and laughing uproariously, one gets looks from fellow travelers that imply more suspicion than a cough in a crowded supermarket (these days). However, I am instructed that I must now do my reading of all new Spratt stories in full view of any unsuspecting members of public in the name of shameless publicity for the aforementioned author.
Well I’ve saved the last couple of stories for an upcoming train journey but the rest were mirthfully devoured over the past week or so and I have to say, that your young funsters are going to lose their tiny minds over this collection. R. A. Spratt has shared the love around between her two outstanding characters, Nanny Piggins and Friday Barnes, with a few well-chosen random fractured fairytales thrown in, all of which will send readers into paroxysms of laughter.
From the get-go I was completely onside with Nanny Piggins’ rendition of Rapunzel Bacon-Hair and the ensuing Piggins tales, oddly all centred on foodstuffs equally reduced me to a gibbering mess. Then there are the always entertaining sleuthings of Friday – which are (for me at least) more subtle in their laughter-provoking moments.
Interspersed with the stories are some fabulous story-telling tips for your budding writers and humorists. Here’s one I particularly enjoyed:
Storytelling Tip #4
Don’t be afraid to yell. Children love yelling. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be as provoking. If your child’s attention is drifting away throw in a KAPOW! or a BOOOM!!! David Walliams does this all the time. If you do it loud enough, it’s an excellent way to startle your child, raising their heart rate so they don’t fall asleep before the end.
Thanks awfully for that one R. A.! I humbly request some sage advice for startling teens into behaviour that resembles an actual human…………….sorry, I digress.
I never have any hesitation in recommending Rachel’s books with my greatest endorsement. I have seen for myself the mad scramble for kids to get their hands on the newest ones – and seen my kiddos literally weep when a series has finished.
Happy book birthday to Shockingly Good Stories today! Get thee to thy online ordering to have your copy ready to go immediately after the holidays!!
R. A. Spratt (aka Rachel) said to me ‘NO spoilers’ when I mentioned I was about to review this new Friday Barnes instalment and given she is both fit and feisty albeit small, I am not about to quibble! So here’s my rather ‘different’ review ;-).
A) Friday is now the same age as The Kid – growing up indeed!
B) The Kid will be going on her first ever school camp this year as she commences Year 10 at her new school and I will be running full checks on any accompanying teachers – just saying.
C) We live with an Italian, and know others, and I have come to the conclusion that they are ALL crazy!
D) When I reviewed #8 in the series on this blog two years ago I commented that I almost had a full-scale riot in my library when I said it would (as I had been told) be the last in the series. Like me, my kiddos just love Friday so much – so they are going to go wild when this new one appears when school goes back.
As with the others in this series there is loads of action and double doses of laugh-out-loud humour as Friday continues to awkwardly navigate her way through confronting social and emotional situations without ever losing her brilliance and genius-level powers of deduction. I loved it, your kids will love it too. I strongly suggest buying multiple copies so put it on your orders list now!!!!
Thanks so much R. A. for bringing Friday back – you know how much we all love her – horrible brown cardigan, porkpie hat, quirky but smart and, above all, the kid you’d most want to have as your friend.
Check out the blurb here at Penguin – then I can’t be blamed for any spoilers!!
Highly recommended for readers from around mid-primary upwards.