Tag Archives: Tristan Bancks

Ginger Meggs – Tristan Bancks and Jason Chatfield


Penguin Australia

May 2021

  • ISBN: 9781760894818
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 192
  • RRP: $24.99

When I was a kid, growing up in Sydney, my favourite part of the weekend was reading the Sunday comics. I started about four years old, when my Dad opened his Telegraph, and handed me the colourful insert and I was pretty much still reading them even when I was a teenager. Ginger Meggs was always a great favourite of mine. For my 5th birthday my parents took me to Taronga Zoo where the sweetest little monkey grasped my hand through its cage. On the way home I asked for a pet monkey (as you do) and my father replied that it was illegal to have monkeys as pets in Australia. Naturally I retorted ‘That can’t be true. Ginger Meggs has one!’. My father laughed rather a lot and said he knew Jimmy Bancks, the creator of Ginger (how I don’t know – but he did know an awful lot of people!) so I told him he should ask Mr Bancks where Ginger got his monkey from and then I could get one too. Needless to say, no monkey eventuated but I did acquire, soon after, a ginger kitten which I named Meggsie.

When Tristan announced he was writing this book to commemorate the centenary of Ginger Meggs, all those memories came flooding back to me as if they were just yesterday and so, of course, it gives me great pleasure to hold this very special book in my hands.

Tristan’s great-great uncle Jimmy was, without doubt, the best-known cartoonist in Australia and his legacy still lives on today, with Jason Chatfield now creating Ginger’s adventures which are published daily in 34 countries.

Naturally as times have changed, so have Ginger’s stories to give them a contemporary feel whilst retaining the irascible charm of the red-headed kid loved by young and old. When Ginger and his mate, Benny, build their new billy-cart, they ‘borrow’ wheels from the wheelie bin and when Ginger runs for class captain his opponent puts up a poster proclaiming, ‘Make our Class Great Again!’…….frankly, a tad more impressive than GM’s ‘Vote 1 for the Ginger Ninja’ (although to be honest, I think Ginger could do a far better job than our current PM).

Kids and adults alike will thoroughly enjoy these fresh new stories: Dead Man’s Hill, Lamington Billionaire, Ginger Meggs for PM and Father’s Day and, most certainly, will find the illustrated comic strip style timeline of Ginger’s history that follows absolutely fascinating. I have definitely enjoyed the laughs these new stories have provided over this very wet Easter weekend and have been plotting a celebration in our library for Meggsie’s centenary as well as offering our students the opportunity to showcase their comic creation skills.

You definitely won’t want to miss out on this superbly presented commemoration of an Australian icon – pre-order from any of the suppliers below:

BooktopiaAmazonDymocksQBDReadingsAngus & RobertsonAbbeysBoomerangCollinsFishpondHarry HartogKinokuniyaRobinsonsThe NileFind local retailersFind local retailers

Thanks Jimmy – for such a wonderful childhood memory that lingers today and thanks Tristan for bringing Meggsie to a whole new audience!

Detention – Tristan Bancks





Penguin Random House

Imprint: Puffin

July 2019

ISBN: 9780143799

RRP: $16.99


Just wow! Once again Tristan has crafted a sensational narrative with high-impact tension and thought-provoking themes which will keep readers eagerly turning pages.

Two young people are both, each in their own way, prisoners of sad circumstances. Sima, with her family, is detained in a centre for illegal immigrants and under threat of deportation after three years of trying to reach a safe haven, escaping violence and turmoil at the hands of the Taliban. Dan lives in a run-down caravan park on the edge of local society ostensibly with his mother, except she’s been absent for long periods engrossed with her new partner, leaving Dan to fend for himself. Both are desperate for escape.

When protestors help fifty detainees in a daring and dangerous flight from the centre, Sima is separated from her family and does her best to evade capture by hiding out in a toilet block at the local high school.

The school goes into lockdown as a result of the incident at the detention centre and Dan inadvertently becomes involved in Simi’s predicament. For both it is a delicate balance of trust and neither is confident of the response from adults such as Dan’s mum or his teacher but it seems that, almost unexpectedly, the morality of the issue outweighs the legality and help comes when it is least likely. After all, what price a life?

As the plot unfolds the reader becomes completely invested in the characters that are realised with a deft portraiture which is compelling and emotional without becoming cloying or stereotyped. Details which round each one out are often subtle and understated lending more weight to the overall picture. It is certainly clear that one cannot categorise people as simply one thing or another – good or bad, sympathetic or callous, that there are dichotomies in everyone. This viewpoint alone would give rise to much worthwhile and meaningful discussion with young readers.

Tristan points out that essentially he has written ‘a human story, rather than a political one’ with the ultimate goal of exploring the reactions, observations and actions of those dealing with difficult situations.  Despite this there is no doubt that for many readers there will be, like Dan’s teacher Miss Aston, opportunity to discuss and debate various aspects of current social conditions.

It’s never been difficult to ‘sell’ Tristan’s books to  my students and now the ripple effect is evident as more and more share their recommendation with peers but this one will be a block-buster I foresee. I’ll also be sharing my thoughts with our staff as I believe it will make a great read-aloud for Middle year students.

Don’t miss out – get your copy on order now!

Total Quack Up- Edited by Sally Rippin and Adrian Beck. Illustrated by James Foley



Penguin Random House


October 15, 2018


RRP $14.99


Here’s another super choice for the kid who loves humour – and again, very timely with Christmas rushing in upon us.


The cream of our Australian children’s writers have contributed a wealth of funny stories: Deborah Abela, Tristan Bancks, Adrian Beck, Jacqueline Harvey, Paul Jennings, Alex Miles, Oliver Phommavanh, Sally Rippin, R.A. Spratt and Matt Stanton are all crowd pleasers at any time.


Oliver P’s poem about writing a poem, Rhyme Time!, made me laugh aloud – definitely going to use that the next time I do a library unit that features poetry to ward off the inevitable groans. Jacqueline Harvey’s Pet Sit Pandemonium: Operation Snowball is also a cracker – the image of Puss with poor Pavarotti clamped in his jaws balefully glaring had me falling about. And of course, Nanny Piggins is a guaranteed chortle-inducer and Pigerella, R. A. Spratt’s contribution, is no exception.


From football loving pigs to a principal with a rat phobia, from vegetarian bikini-wearing hippos to a crazed vacuum cleaner, this compilation will have something for every reader.

The book also includes the first publication of the winning entry in the Kids’ WB competition by Ella Wallace.


Royalties from the sales of this book go directly to Dymock’s Children’s Charities with all the authors as well as James Foley, illustrator, thrilled to be part of the project donating their talents and work.


So buying this book will not only give the kids you love some pleasure but also help to provide some for children in less fortunate circumstances.


Highly recommended for kids who love to laugh, from around eight years upwards.


Tom Weekly 6:  My Life and other Failed Experiments – Tristan Bancks. Illustrated by Gus Gordon



Penguin Random House


July 2, 2018

Random House Australia Children’s

RRP: $14.99

So my read last night was the new hilarious instalment in Tom Weekly’s adventures and it didn’t disappoint. Fortunately alone in my bedroom there’s no one to witness my snorts of laughter!

Where to start? Well I just loved Nanna Nancy’s stealthy attempted sabotage of the fruit cake competition and the skilful way in which she makes Tom her patsy for the crime. Then of course there’s the traumatic guinea pig hostage situation where the very image of Tanya ending up in a rubbish bin filled me with absolute joy – and of course Gus the guinea pig surviving triumphantly.

Skroop’s massive detention siege and the ultimate revenge of having bully Brent getting his come-uppance is pretty sweet as is getting the better of the world’s angriest ice-cream man. Tom’s smelly bottom issue and baby-sitting Jack’s horrid little brother Barney are both as funny as but without doubt, the pièce de résistance is the Killer Possums, for which I have been waiting with great anticipation.

My visual of a posse of possums in a conga line and Tom covered head to toe in possums made me laugh aloud and was indeed worth the wait.

As usual, interspersed with the chapters, is much useful Tom Weekly advice such as reasons to get your parents off social media and household hacks along with ‘Would you rather……’.

Again, Tristan has given us a prime motivator to get kids reading – and enjoying it – this is bound to be another sure-fire winner with the kids from around Year 3 upwards.

Woot! Keep on bringing it Tristan and Gus!

My Life & Other Exploding Chickens – Tristan Bancks. Illustrations by Gus Gordon.



ISBN: 9780857985316

Published: 01/03/2016

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

RRP $15.99

Ok so Tristan’s My Life.. books should come with a warning about snorting aloud. Tom Weeks is back with his brand of bizarre daily life to make readers laugh out loud.

Tom’s invitation to go to the circus with the love of his life Sasha is exhilarating on the one hand yet terrifying on the other due to his phobia about clowns.  His worst nightmare turns into more than just having to look at those evil clowns.

Then there is his arch-nemesis Stella’s brilliant homework scheme which naturally involves tricking Tom into a kiss.

There is also my favourite image – the guinea pig sized head lice chomping on a bathroom door. Although Lewis’ mutant nits did get a tad creepy later when they were big enough to attack the police car!

And then the Library Ninjas (which is rather coincidentally the name of my library monitor team!) who ruthlessly pursue Tom after he finally returns his overdue book – after five years!

Of course there’s more – I always wondered where all the odd socks went to I have to say and no My Life would be complete without input from Tristan’s fans and the interspersed ‘lists’.

All in all, another hit for those readers who want the wacky side of life delivered up to them complete with scabs.

Highly recommended for kids from around 8 years upwards.

My Life and Other Massive Mistakes – Tristan Bancks: illustrated by Gus Gordon



ISBN: 9780857985293

Published: 02/03/2015

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

RRP : $15.99


Oh dear Tristan, you’ve done it again. So there I am sitting in the hair salon, goop on my hair waiting patiently to be transformed and reading this. Cue falling about laughing – out loud! Strange looks from both the girls and the other clients. I think I actually snorted twice. SO embarrassment!


Tom Weekly is at it again – sabotaging school testing (do I suspect the dreaded NAPALM tests?) with a cunning plan of planting nits in every student’s (and teacher’s) hats to create an epidemic and total school closure, springing his Pop from the nursing home, suffering under duress from the heinous older sister and helping his mate Jack to get back his ‘cranky’ Dad  amongst other crazy stunts – plus much more!


These books have proved so very popular with readers – particularly those reluctant boys who can be daunted by dense texts – and with good reason. Each episode is succinct and deceptively simple accompanied by Gus’ illustrations.


I adore the way Tristan engages with is readership by including invitations to submit ideas for various schemes and lists contained in the text. In addition, he provides young aspiring writers with some useful (and extremely humorous) advice at the end of the book to encourage their own experimental writing.


Tristan has such an enviable knack of connecting with both his readership and his audiences – and incidentally, is also just a lovely human!


His books are ones of which every library should have multiple copies. Boys and girls alike will relish each hysterical mishap from poor Tom’s life.


Get onto Tristan’s website here – you won’t be sorry you did!


Highly recommended for your readers aged around 9 and up.

bancks, tristan.jpg

Readers Cup 2014 & Tristan Bancks


What a joy to take five nervous Year 6 boys to Readers Cup for the first time – and though they didn’t do as well as they might have hoped, they are completely fired up to rocket into next year’s comp.

Lovely to meet Tristan Bancks for the first time – thank you for the charming inscription in my review copy of ‘Two Wolves’ and the complimentary response to my review!Image


Click the image for Tristan’s new book trailer



Click the cover for the trailer


Teaching notes and sample available here at Random House