CM . . . .
Volume VII Number 2 . . . . September 22, 2000
The Chapter Before the Next OneAdults who are looking for the latest offering by Booker Prize winner Roddy Doyle will be surprised when they see his newest book, The Giggler Treatment. Definitely irreverent and silly, it will evoke a lot of laughs and gasps from children of all ages.
The plot surrounds Mr. Mack who is a cookie taster and a good family man. But Mr. Mack is headed for a disastrous rendezvous with a pile of poo on his way to work one day. Why? Because the Gigglers, mischievous imps who protect the interests of little children, have misinterpreted Mr. Mack's reproach to his own kids. They pull pranks to teach adults a lesson for being mean to kids, and one of their games is to gather up dog poo and strategically place it underfoot. Can Rover and the Mack family stop Mr. Mack from this great humiliation?
It takes 112 pages (large type and double spaced in a 5" x 7" format) to find out, while the dog, mum and the kids race around the world at breakneck speed in brief seconds to put things right. In the meantime, the reader learns all about the Gigglers, Rover's sneak visits to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and Mr. Mack's travails at work where he sometimes has to taste cookies he doesn't like. Rover the dog proves to be the brilliant strategist who saves the day, and an excellent speaker, too. Except, to adult ears, the sound comes out as "Woof." Doyle pokes fun at all conventions from the chapter names (he even names one after his mother) to the discussion of toilet habits. Accompanied by Brian Ajhar's humorous line drawings, the book is fun to read and look at. Children will read and reread this book, as they do "The Adventures of Captain Underpants" series by Dav Pilkey for the puerile humour that adults usually frown upon. Undoubtedly a lot of early adolescent boys will be entertained, too. Doyle warns the reader of the differences in meaning of Irish words and includes a non-serious glossary at the end.
It's not Paddy Clark, Ha Ha Ha, or The Woman Who Walked Into Doors or A Star Called Henry, but isn't it good to know that the author of such difficult subject matter has a lighter side?
Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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