Maggot Pie

When Jiggy McClure pees into the Piddling Pool for the 1001st time, he conjures up a genie who grants him three wishes. In the best tradition of complete idiots he wastes his wishes and incurs the wrath of JR (Jimmy Riddle, the genie). Forget turbans and curly shoes, JR is a bolshie teenager with dreadlocks and a bad attitude. Not only does he have the full range of magic powers, but all liquids turn to pee in his presence. Ever had a piddle-flavoured ice-lolly? He then proceeds to turn Jiggy’s life and the lives of his friends Angie and Pete into a nightmare. JR makes Jiggy bald, then grass-covered, makes him say unspeakable things to his favourite teacher, causes Angie to pour water over the principal which, of course, is actually pee, and floods the school with, yet again, pee. (There is quite a lot of peeing in this book, but as they say in all the best films, it is essential to the plot.) These kids are in serious trouble. How can they get rid of JR and save themselves from being grounded until 2043?

This is a hilarious story with little or no basis in reality. The dialogue is fast and funny, irreverent but not offensive. Parents, as in all the best books, appear only on the edges of the pages, the butt of snappy one-liners, oblivious to all their offspring’s trials and tribulations. There is a significant gross factor (pee, maggots, giant rhino droppings) which should have most children splitting their sides and most adults feeling queasy. The pace of the writing and the timing and humour of the dialogue are irresistible, a temptation to read aloud. A book to race through, chuckling in horror, wondering what on earth will happen next.