The Extremely Weird Thing that Happened in Huggabie Falls (Adam Cece, illus by Andrew Weldon, Text)
Welcome to Huggabie Falls, where, on a normal day, you might encounter mad scientists, vegetarian piranhas and a spell-slinging schoolteacher with a penchant for turning students into hippopotamuses. In a town full of strangeness, Kipp Kindle’s family is the strangest. At least, they were the strangest, but now a mysterious thing has turned Kipp’s odd parents normal. Together with his friends Tobias and Cymphany, Kipp investigates and finds that one Felonious Dark, Weirdness Eradicator, is to blame. Now it’s fallen to Kipp and Co to stop Dark before he turns the whole town normal. The Extremely Weird Thing that Happened in Huggabie Falls won the 2017 Text Prize, and it’s easy to see why: it’s a funny read, full of hijinks and adventure. Most of the humour comes from the narrator’s many deviations and asides that are reminiscent of authors such as Lemony Snicket or Pseudonymous Bosch. At times it feels like a guidebook to the residents of the town, but it works because the many peripheral characters are fresh and humorous (think Portuguese-speaking lab rats). The illustrations from cartoonist Andrew Weldon are a good fit. This will be an easy book to recommend to kids aged nine to 11 who are looking for a quirky read that celebrates all things oddball.
Holly Harper is a children’s bookseller at Readings Kids