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Fluff: Bullies Beware (Matt Stanton, ABC Books)

Gilbert Morris lives with his mum and sister in a caravan park. After his dad goes missing in outer space, Gilbert’s mum gives him Fluff, a comfort toy, to squeeze whenever he feels sad. One night, Gilbert starts talking to Fluff and, surprisingly, the toy bunny talks back. At this point, Fluff transforms to become giant size. When the school bully, Carl, hangs Gilbert’s undies on the school gate for everyone to see, Gilbert and Fluff concoct a series of payback plans to beat the bully at his own game. Fluff: Bullies Beware is the first in a new series by bestselling author Matt Stanton. Much like his series Funny Kid and The Odds, Fluff is entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny, expertly mixing humour and heart. It diverts from Stanton’s comic-strip style and has considerably less text than Funny Kid, but offers plenty of details for readers to discover on closer inspection. As you come across schemes from a drone-powered atomic wedgie to a pool-noodle-based game of Whack-A-Carl, you may wonder when Gilbert will finally learn that revenge will not solve this problem. Thankfully, Gilbert’s lesson comes in the form of the maxim ‘don’t feed the turtle’ (and the bully will grow tired and move on). It perhaps oversimplifies the bullying issue for primary-aged children, but opens the opportunity for a broader discussion with family or at school. Gilbert and Fluff are a dynamic duo and are loads of fun for readers aged 8+. One can’t help but wonder what other misadventures they’ll get up to in this series.

Books+Publishing reviewer: Jess Lomas is the Books+Publishing reviews editor. Books+Publishing is Australia’s number-one source of pre-publication book reviews.


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