Ratboy Jr was also in the Top Ten of WXPNs 2013 Kids Corner countdown (and was also on the Kids Corner CD). This is a fun song told in a story. It opens slowly with acoustic guitars and tells the story of a young boy with a very big head who wants to be a luchador.
When the chorus comes around, it kicks into full Mexican style swing with horns and flamenco style guitars. Young Santos goes to a store where he gets a beautiful red wrestling mask. And we all sing “La Cabeza Grande, champion of the universe!” in full chanting chorus (complete with yips and yee hees!).
I actually wish the songs was about five minutes longer. But at just under 4 minutes it tells a good story and is super catchy.
[READ: January 2, 2014] Boom
I’ve read one adult book by Mark Haddon (but not his famous Curious Incident…). I didn’t know that he wrote kids books at all. But when this came out I learned that this was originally published in 1992 under the title Gridzbi Spudvetch! (and yes it was in English). He says in the Foreword that kids and teachers loved it, if they were able to pronounce it (and that with a title like that he was lucky that 23 people bought it).
So it went out of print. But fans said he should get it back in print. So he decided to rename it a more reasonable name. He also says the technology in the book was horribly out of date (which shouldn’t really matter, but if you’re going to update it, you might as well do it all). And as since he was updating, he decided to rewrite, as he puts it, “every sentence.” So I gather the story is the same, but it’s a very different book (and me being me, I’m very curious to read the original).
But now with the simple name of Boom, we get this fast paced and very enjoyable story. (And yes, gridzbi spudvetch is still in the book).
The story starts with a boy on a balcony eating a cheese and jelly sandwich (the book is set in England where they do seem to love their cheese). We learn that the boy is Jim. He has a sister Becky (who he hates and who hates him). She is dating a scuzzball with a motorcycle whose nickname s Craterface. Jim’s dad is recently unemployed and spends all of his time with model helicopters. And his mom has recently gotten a serious job and is now basically the boss of the family. Jim has a moment of lack of sense which causes a serious blow up with Craterface. A fight almost happens, but when it is broken up, Becky tells him that the teachers have been talking about him and that they are planning to send him to the special school for kids with problems. So we can tell that Jim’s life is not the best right now.
Jim’s best friend is Charlie. Charlie has also just had a bad experience–he tried to drive his parents car–and manged to smash it. Into the front garden. So he is grounded. But that won’t hold back Charlie.
Charlie has a plan to bug the teacher’s lounge to see if they are really looking to get rid of Jim. But what they hear instead is two teachers having a conversation it what sure isn’t English, and which includes the word spudvetch. The boys know it’s not English but they think it might be another language. So they try a few sneaky ways to find out if the two teachers have ever been anywhere or know any languages. But they are the two dullest teachers ever and the answer is no.
So the boys start snooping around. Well actually Charlie starts snooping around because Jim is trying to help his dad get some sanity back in his life. Jim’s dad had been cooking dinner but it was awful. So Jim bought him a cookbook and suddenly his dad has become quite the chef. Jim stays home for support and because he’s afraid that Charlie is going to get caught. He’s especially fearful since a scary man basically melted the table they were sitting at when he told them to back off.
And that’s when Charlie finds something big–a secret message. And when Charlie’s dad (who is very smart) realizes that one of the words in the secret message is a place in Scotland, it sets the rest of the story in motion.
It’s no spoiler to say that the teachers are actually aliens. In fact, the boys probably suspect as much from the start, they’re just afraid to admit it. But i won’t reveal anything more. Except that the rest of the story involves Craterface’s motorcycle, underage driving, an alien spaceship, a machine that makes any food you can think of (so don’t think anything gross), the end of Earth as we know it and a planet in The Sagittarius Dwarf Irregular Galaxy named…Plonk.
I thought the book was really very funny, and it was super fast paced. I’d like to read more of his kids books. Clark read the first chapter and found it confusing. Whether because of the Britishisms or because he just didn’t feel like reading it, I can’t say.