Children's Fiction, Illustrator, Middle Grade Fiction

BOOK REVIEW: The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Russell Brand

– Short Review –

Russell Brand steps up to the plate in his tale of The Pied Piper and literally blows up the scene with his intelligent and whimsical language that is so often associate with him, this book is a shear delight. I purchased myself a hardcover copy recently at Hay Festival – being drawn to my purchase with a love of the original tale from my childhood and because of the beautiful cover and illustrations within drawn by the ever brilliant Chris Riddell. This book is magic and when reading it aloud his words trickled and rolled off the tongue to giggles and delights from my children – I was delighted to see Brand breathe new life into an old tale which brings the wonder of this story to a new audience in a captivating and enjoyable way!

Other books you may like include A Darkness of Dragons by S.A. Patrick , Who Let The Gods Out? by Maz Evans, The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson and The Way Past Winter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave.

– Long Review –

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Russell Brand – some people love him, some people hate him, he’s a little bit like Marmite – delightful for some, detestable to others. I for one am partial to some of the brown stuff, so he’d already won me over with regards to my liking of him. With The Pied Piper (Trickster Tales) Brand delivers a superb children’s book that will live long in the memory. A book that can be enjoyed by adults as well as children, if they can get over the one small fact that it was written by Russell Brand.

Trickster Tales has Brand returning to some classic folklore / fairytale stories and adding his own unique spin on some outdated stories – creating a piece of fiction that is both delightful to read and magical when read aloud to children. His language seems to fall off the tongue in the most delectable of ways with its musicality, the story is told in a very Brand way with whimsically structured prose that makes this a true joy to behold. Brand not only achieves in bringing an old tale to life, but in doing so creates a space for children to seek and discover answers to big questions, making the story relatable and reading the book also provides them with a language that will educate whilst also allowing them to enjoy the story as it unfolds.

‘”This is twisting my melon man!” yelped Fat Bob’s Dad as the twin rats daubed ‘We Rule’ on Fat Bob’s fat face with a spoonful of their own bum custard.’

The book was a delightful find whilst I was camping at Hay Festival – it was the hardback copy (illustration) above – as soon as I laid eyes on this, I had to have it. The book is adorned with wonderful illustrations from Chris Riddell and these work in harmony with the delectable words of Brand’s choosing – it’s such a delightful book that it is almost as if a Piper crept into your room whilst reading and his sweet music takes you off into a distant land full of well spoken princes and rats that don’t give two hoots as to the rules – as Brand puts it ‘anarchoeglitarian‘ meaning there are no rules and no one is in charge! A13FV0cZWWL

Brand has decided also to include on many of the pages a sort of key to help those young minds reading the book with what particular words mean – these are all collated and included in the ‘Tricksters Glossary‘ in the back – there appears to have been much thought put in to making this book appeal to a wide audience and a great attention to detail in ensuring that young people are catered for. It’s a magical book which I feel everyone should read.

‘Mind you, Casper was volatile. These lawless, filthy, scumbag rats were rearranging Hamelin with nothing in mind but mad rat urges. They used their rat egg-hole-poo-gun-machine-bums to rat-a-tat-tat the parent into a dung-covered muck-hurricane. They used their vicious little-lellow claws to rip up all the posters. They smashed shop windows using stones and sticks that were lying around from when Fat Bob and his gang had been bullying Sam earlier.’

If you are after a book that will intrigue, delight and inspire in equal measure then you need to look no further. If like me you enjoy reading books to your children then this is a fabulous book to do that with – Brand has done all the hard work so that you can enjoy the reactions of your children when they hear his delightful words trickle from your mouth. Chris Riddell’s illustrations are also another reason to purchase it, every page is littered with beautifully drawn characters that add another dimension to an already mind blowing book – every page is a marvel to behold.

Each page is a work of art – both lyrically and artistically!

I am so delighted that I discovered this book, but now I am in that awkward stage of wanting to see what he does next – our offering would be ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes‘ with Brand at the helm that is something that could quite possibly blow our socks off – if we had any on to begin with!

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The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Russell Brand is published by Canon Gate and is available here.

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RUSSELL BRAND

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Comedian Russell Brand is an international phenomenon. As well as starring in movies such as Get Me to the GreekForgetting Sarah Marshall and Despicable Me, he is also the author of seven books including the Sunday Times bestselling memoir My Booky Wook and Revolution. In 2011 Brand was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Comedy Award at the British Comedy Awards. He toured his most recent stand-up show The Messiah Complex worldwide. He regularly writes for the Guardian.

Illustrator Chris Riddell is a Costa prize-winning illustrator, author and former Children’s Laureate. He has worked as a political cartoonist for the Economist, the Independent and the Observer. He has illustrated an exceptional range of books and also writes and creates his own books, such as the highly-acclaimed Ottoline series and the Costa prize-winning Goth Girl series.
@chrisriddell50 | chrisriddell.co.uk

We also had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Riddell for STORGY Kids you can find the interview here.

Reviewed by Ross Jeffery

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