Have you ever had a paper round? If you have it was probably pretty easy to get one. You almost certainly didn’t have to fight a granny army to get one. Lucky you! Charlie Duncan has no such luck when he tries to get a paper round. When he tries to get a paper round his life goes from pretty normal to seriously weird in Alan Brough’s new book, Charlie and the War Against the Grannies.
My name is Charlie Ian Duncan. I will be 12 on 2 February. I have written this history of my war with the grannies because I need everyone to know that I didn’t mean for Mrs Cyclopolos to blow up. I just wanted a paper round.
When I say ‘my war with the grannies’, I really mean the war I waged alongside my best friend Hils, my second-best-friend Rashid, Peter the Iraqi who isn’t afraid of anything (well apart from one thing), Warren and his magical bike TwelveSpeed and those crazy people we met underground.
The grannies started it when I asked them about a paper round and they sprayed me in the face with rooster brand chilli sauce and made me think that I was dead. Hils and I decided to go to war with them but then I discovered one of the grannies had a glass eye and I wasn’t sure if it was okay to go to war against someone with a glass eye but then I discovered that the granny with the glass eye could pinch bricks in half, turn her snot-covered hankies into deadly throwing weapons and possessed a truly terrible device called the Gnashing Gnet.
It’s all true.
Especially the bit about me not wanting anyone to blow up.
Charlie and the War Against the Grannies is an absolutely bonkers story that will make you laugh out loud. Alan Brough has taken a pretty simple idea (getting a paper round) and turned it into an all out war against grannies. There is something for everyone in this story – evil grannies, secret passageways, secret toilet codes, incredible inventions, explosions, weird characters, and hot sauce. To find out how all of these things are related you’ll have to read the book.
This is one seriously funny book that I just know kids (especially boys) are going to love. Even before you start the story Alan makes you laugh with the disclaimer that states ‘Seventeen grannies were hurt (just a little bit) during the making of this book.’ There are lots of laugh-out-loud moments, like when Charlie and Hils are trying to come up with a better name for the evil grannies. The first chapter is only two sentences long but totally hooks you in,
‘I didn’t want Mrs Cyclopolos to explode. I just wanted a paper round.’
It starts off pretty crazy and just gets crazier from there. Charlie is joined in his mission for a paper round by his best friend Hils (don’t call her Hilary), who is totally obsessed with the army. She talks like she is in the army and has a collection of military issue equipment, like gas masks, flares and an enormous knife. She’s a great person to have by Charlie’s side because she’s pretty fearless. One of my favourite moments in the book is when Charlie and Hils need to communicate using Flush Latin. This is a secret code they created so that they can communicate from a toilet if they get in trouble. They use a combination of flushes, hand dryer sounds, lid slams and more to communicate secretly.
I think a lot of kids will relate to Charlie, especially since he describes himself as a ‘Digital Orphan,’ a kid who is completely ignored by his parents because they are always on their iPhones. He says that his parents ‘are so interested in their iPhones that they have lost all interest in me. They take so little notice of me that I might as well not have parents.’
Rush out and get a copy of Charlie and the War Against the Grannies now. It’s perfect for fans of Andy Griffiths, David Walliams and Morris Gleitzman or just anyone who loves a good laugh.