Mr Baboomski and the Wonder Goat

Initially, I was sceptical about this book. The nonsense words in the opening pages reminded me too much of Roald Dahl’s BFG and apart from that, the grammar was riddled with errors. I’m usually looking at books with teacher eyes, so I wasn’t sure if this would be a book that I would be happy to recommend to my class of 9 and 10 year olds. But I was wrong, very wrong. The language and grammatical errors are appropriate in their place and even enhance the character’s profile. And, in fact, the errors make the reader think more about what is being said. I went into class the next day quoting from the book. ‘Never forget to remember who you is.’ ‘Good friends is like happiness: too much is never enough.’

Mr Baboomski , from fictional Escorvia (hence the poor English) is a wonderful character and an ally and friend to Tom, or Boy, as he calls him. Tom has moved home, changed school and is missing his mum who is away on business. He finds himself in a small sea-side town, lonely and mercilessly bullied. Wandering off on a walk one day, he encounters a strange goat and thereby meets Mr Baboomski. The friendship blossoms and with Mr Baboomski’s help, Tom learns to be himself, beat the bullies and as a bonus saves the village from disaster.

The pen and pencil drawings throughout complement the text, and when Mr Baboomski is telling his own story this is depicted as handwritten pages. There is also clever use of font to emphasise particular words which provide visual breaks in the text.

So, to quote Mr Baboomski, it is a SKABOONKY read.