You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum! by Andy Stanton

By Ben and Maureen Tai, 10 September 2018


Chapter 1 starts like this:

“Mr. Gum was a fierce old man with a red beard and two bloodshot eyes that stared out at you like an octopus curled up in a bad cave.”

This is going to be interesting.

If the transition from picture books/comics to early reader/chapter books is proving to be a challenge, and you’re looking for an entertaining, somewhat off-the-wall read that doesn’t focus on either gaseous bodily emissions or human nether regions, then you might want to pick up a Mr. Gum book.

Here’s Ben’s opinion of You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum!:

“Mr. Gum is funny because when Polly was running down the street they said that she saw some cat legs, a cat body, a cat head and a cat tail, in fact it was a whole cat! Polly is a girl who wanted to save a really big dog that liked messing up Mr. Gum’s garden. So Mr. Gum got some rotten cow hearts and put rat poison on the cow hearts. When the dog came, he ate the cow hearts … oh no! I’m telling you too much details! Mr. Gum is a very messy and lazy old man because he has not made his bed.  I don’t mean like fold up the blankets, I mean like when he got the new bed, he did not put the wood together so he slept on a pile of wood!  People should read this book because it is funny and cute.”

Here’s my opinion of the book:

“The writing is refreshingly unique.  The storytelling is humorous without being crass, and bizarre without descending into senseless idiocy.   There are also some oddball, yet lovely, turns of phrases to be found (” … the ancient carpet was the colour of unhappiness …” “She was nine years old, with lovely sandy hair like a cat’s daydream and a smile as happy as the Bank of England.”).  In short, You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum is a rather enjoyable, madcap read that thankfully, doesn’t go careening off the rails. I suspect even the most reluctant reader will have a hard time resisting the ‘orrible charms of Mr. Gum and the quirkiness of the residents of Lamonic Bibber.”

For ages 7 and up.


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