Willakaville: Baffling Ballads of Boisterous Braveness by Bald Guy (Mathew Heinecke), short stories, 124 pages, published in 2015.
Be chased by quicksand in Mexico, go on a quest in Snobbleland or eat candy in the sewer in this odd, yet funny collection of short stories. This is the second book of stories from Willakaville, where the weird and wacky happen often.
Overall I did enjoy this collection, the stranger the story, the better it was. There were gentle lessons through these stories, such as an anti-bullying message and believing in yourself. While all of the stories are unique and imaginative, there were a couple that stood out for me. “Souper Duper” was about a boy who gains superpowers by eating soup, and battles a supervillain, The Mad Milker. He used special milk from his cow as a weapon, which made me laugh. Another story saw a small girl go adventuring with a friendly snow monster that she created. This one really captured the imaginative ability of children. The exploration of the caves in Mexico was very exciting, and somewhat Indiana Jones-esque. I’d like to see more adventures like that in the future books.
The poems in this collection were good. There is one about scary things in the night, and another about making a big sandwich. These simple and fun poems are great for getting kids interested in poetry.
There were some spelling and syntax errors, nothing serious though. Except, in the middle of “Robot Insects”, when the main character Jerry is suddenly referred to as Jimmy for a few paragraphs.
These self-contained and easy to read stories are suitable for lower to middle primary school children. However, anyone can enjoy the humour of these stories. A third volume will be available from Willakaville soon.
*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.