You're a Bad Man, Mr. Gum!
by Andy Stanton
Mr. Gum really is a bad man. He's slimy and gross and mean to children. But there's this little fairy who whacks him on the head with a frying pan whenever he neglects his garden. As a result, Mr. Gum's garden is the "prettiest, greeniest, floweriest, gardeniest garden in the whole of Lamonic Bibber." Lamonic Bibber is a town. (This book takes place in England, you see, where pan-whacking fairies and strange town names are the norm.) Anyhoo, enter Jake, "a massive whopper of a dog," who wreaks havoc on Mr. Gum's garden with a conga line of moles in party hats. Needless to say, Mr. Gum is not pleased. In fact, he is mightily bruised from the enormous pan-whacking that ensues. So our scowling villain decides to do away with Jake in a most heinous, hideous way. Fortunately, along comes Polly, a "girl worth liking," who's determined to foil Mr. Gum's plan even if she has to team up with a questionable old hero named Friday O'Leary.
And you know what? We think we'll just stop here and let you read it for yourself. You really should. It's a whopper and a half. And then pass it on to any kid you know who enjoys books by Bruce Hale, Jim Benton, or Jon Scieszka. Or any a kid you know who needs a laugh. Or any adult, for that matter. Wafflemongers especially.