WeirDo and WeirDo 2: Even Weirder by Anh Do
Scholastic Press RRP: $14.99
– Australian, ‘fish out of water’ comedies
– Diary of a Wimpy Kid for younger readers
For more information visit Scholastic Press
Here’s this week’s gem for the early-mid level readers of the house – Anh Do’s hilarious WeirDo series. Books 1 & 2 are in stores everywhere this week (and on special too, I’ve noticed). These are the first kids’ books in awhile that have had me laughing out loud. Totally involuntary guffaws!They are loosely comparable to the Wimpy Kid books, but with gentler humour for a younger age group.
Weir Do (no, that’s not a typo – it’s his name!) is the new kid in school. And it’s hard enough to make friends and find your way around without having a totally WEIRD family to contend with at the same time. The Do family do all kinds of things that are totally embarrassing. Weir’s Dad does burp tricks. His Grandpa takes out his teeth! His little brother Roger likes to wash things in the bath…things like loaves of bread!In reality, it’s all totally normal, loveable stuff, but it feels hugely significant to Weir as he tries to navigate the tricky social sphere of the playground. These books are very quick to read but packed with great one liners. Fun illustrations by Jules Faber showcase Weir’s weird world, as well as the one thing he knows he’s good at – drawing.
Anh Do’s celebrated book ‘The Happiest Refugee’ touched readers of all ages across Australia with its heartfelt descriptions of life as a family of Vietnamese Australians. Do speaks with great wit about the similarities and differences that form part of the migrant experience, and carries these stories into his stand up comedy routines. Based on the illustrations, Weir Do is the child of an Asian-Australian father and an Anglo-Australian mother (to be very general) but this series is kind of interesting because it’s NOT about the migrant experience.
They may be full of poo jokes, but in many ways these books show a maturation of Australian children’s writing, which has in the past worked quite hard to emphasise appreciation and acceptance of cultural difference. These are clever ‘fish out of water’ stories in which the lead character’s Asian-ness is unimportant. Any Aussie kid could relate to Weir’s mortification at his family’s behaviour, his inability to impress Bella (the seventh best looking girl in class) and his baffled interactions with some of the quirkier kids in class.
Another thing I like about these books is that they’re not tailored specifically to either gender. Yes, the lead is a boy – but my 6 and 7 year old girls think these are the funniest books they’ve ever read!
“My parents could have given me any first name at all, like John, Kevin, Shmevin . . . ANYTHING. Instead I’m stuck with the worst name since Mrs Face called her son Bum.”
Champagne kid comedy folks! Very refreshing!