Funny Prize

Philip Ardagh picks his top ten children's books by Roald Dahl in an article in the Guardian.

Ardagh, who won the upper age category in last year's Roald Dahl Funny Prize for the first of his Grubtown Tales, is perhaps best known as the author of the Eddie Dickens (which we are currently reading and about to go in search of further volumes).  The household choice for top children's book by Philip Ardagh would have to be The Fall of Fergal from the Unlikely Exploits series.  If you use the look inside feature here you can read the very funny opening of this book, which begins:
The very last words young Fergal McNally heard in his life were: "Don't lean out that window!"  The very last sounds were probably the air whistling past his sticky-out ears as he fell the fourteen stories, the honk of traffic horns below (getting nearer and nearer, of course), and--possibly--the SP of the SPLAT! he himself made as he hit the pavement.  Fergal certainly wouldn't have heard more than the SP, though, because by the time the LAT! part had followed he would have been well and truly dead.
My son thinks this is the  funniest thing he has ever heard, although I'm somewhat partial to the description of the father that follows on the next page:
Of course, their father could have brought them up, but he was a useless dad.  he even went so far as to get a note from his doctor saying that he was "excused parenting" and left everything for poor old Jackie to do.  He kept himself busy by collecting empty bottles.  They were full when he first got them but were certainly empty by the time he'd finished with them.
Now I'm off to look for more Philip Ardagh books.  I've always meant to read Why Are Castles Castle- Shaped just because I love the title so much.


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