The Tom Fitzgibbon Award is a fantastic award given out by Storylines each year that helps to launch the careers of unpublished authors in New Zealand. There have been some wonderful winners of this award, including Leonie Agnew (Super Finn) and Juliet Jacka (Night of the Perigee Moon), who have gone on to write more great books. Tom E. Moffatt was the winner of the 2016 Tom Fitzgibbon Award with his book Barking Mad, and judging by this book, Tom has a very bright writing career ahead of him. Barking Mad is absolutely hilarious!
At first, Fingers refuses to believe that his Granddad has gone BARKING MAD! But what straight-thinking grownup goes around LICKING the postman, growling like a dog and chasing hospital security guards up trees? And when Fingers and his sister Sally discover a BIZARRE machine in Granddads workshop, mix-ups turn into MIND-SWAPPING madness one look at Granddads dog DaVinci is proof of that!
Barking Mad is a crazy, hilarious read that will have you laughing out loud. As soon as I read the blurb I knew that this was going to be a book for me and I wasn’t disappointed. Just the idea of a grandad swapping minds with his dog was enough to make me laugh. You can just imagine how crazy and silly the story is going to be. Just when you think the story couldn’t get any funnier, it does. Can you imagine swapping bodies with your grandad, your sister, or your brother? That’s probably too scary to even think about!
I really loved the characters in this book. The main character is Finn Butterby, but everyone calls him Fingers, as in Butter Fingers, because he is quite clumsy. When Finn gets told that he has to carry his grandfather’s very delicate mind-swapping invention you just know that something is going to go wrong. I love the way that Tom portrays the grandad’s dog DaVinci too. Because Finn’s grandad has swapped minds with his dog, DaVinci often acts quite human-like, like when they find him reading a newspaper. Finn and his sister also mix up their names and start calling them DaVanddad and GraVinci.
There are lots of hilarious and often embarrassing situations in the book but my favourite part is the rescue/escape from the dog pound. I know that this is one part that will make kids crack up. Barking Mad is perfect for anyone aged 8+ who loves funny stories, especially for Andy Griffiths fans who are looking for something new. I can’t wait to read what Tom writes next!