Exploding Endings Book One: Painted Dogs and Doom Cakes, by Tim Harris

With generously sized short stories, Tim Harris throws the reader into a world where it rains lemonade, dentists terrorise children, a whole school is put on detention at once and making a simple chocolate cake is one of life’s most dangerous tasks.

Tim Harris, with 15 years as a primary school teacher under his belt, has harnessed his experience of reading children’s literature into creating exciting books of his own. This book is perfectly aimed at its target audience and would be a great book to gift to a reluctant reader.

Each snack-sized story takes an unexpected turn that is fun for the reader. Just when you think you know what is going to happen, Harris throws a major curveball at you. The stories are easy to read, funny and reminded me a little of the likes of Morris Gleitzman or Paul Jennings.

Littered throughout the book is another story, told mainly in pictures. Left and Right, as in the left page and the right page, have an ongoing battle as to which is more superior. Told in funny little cartoons and jokes, the pair fight for superiority in the margins. While it is funny and clever, I found it distracted from the story at hand. However, younger readers will appreciate it and reluctant readers will find it helps break up the page.

Unfortunately, I found the ending was a bit of a let down. The last story does not finish, encouraging readers to seek out the next book. But instead of leaving me hanging on edge, my urge to keep reading was diminished. The final story, Psycho Sweet Tooth Seagull, was my least favourite of them all and wasn’t as strong. Had Harris finished on Detention Attention or You Got Got, I would have been rushing out the door to the bookstore to find the next book and quell my desire to discover what happened.

Exploding Endings is a humorous collection of stories that will delight primary school-aged readers. It would also make a fantastic read aloud for teachers, as well as spark off some fantastic creative writing. With a career in teaching, Harris knows exactly what will keep younger readers engaged and excited.

 

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TITLE: Exploding Endings Book One: Painted Dogs and Doom Cakes
AUTHOR(S): Tim Harris
PUBLISHER: New Holland
RRP: $14.99
ISBN: 9781922134578

Rebekah is an Otago-based mother of two young girls. The former journalist and primary school teacher has a soft spot for New Zealand authors and young adult fiction. Follow her on Twitter.

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