What to Read After... Mr Gum

Published on: 18 August 2019 Author: Anna McKerrow

Andy Stanton and David Tazzyman's brilliant Mr Gum books certainly get children giggling - but which other stories will they love? We've got some ideas and would love to hear your thoughts too...

Mr Gum

The much-loved books about cantankerous Mr Gum, who hates children, animals, fun and corn on the cob, are published in 34 countries worldwide in over 30 languages. But what to read when your little one has read the entire crazy series?

For funny books with illustrations and a completely zany sense of humour


Illustration: Jim Benton

David O'Doherty and Chris Judge's Danger is Everywhere books are a shoo-in for kids looking for their next favourite series. Alternatively, for even more illustration, Dav Pilkey's Dog Man books are full of off-the-wall humour and hilarious drawings and are satisfyingly fast-paced.

If you like those, also check out Clyde by Jim Benton: the full-colour comic story of a bear trying to be a gangster and failing. And The Great Hamster Massacre by Kate Davies and Hannah Shaw is a hilarious story about 9-year-old Anna and her little brother Tom, who launch a full-blown investigation into the death of two Russian Dwarf hamsters.

For funny books with an idiosyncratic cast of characters

Mr Penguin

Illustration: Alex T Smith

Alex T Smith's Mr Penguin books are sure to satisfy those looking for quirky humour and adventure, while David Solomons' My Brother is a Superhero series will fulfil older readers' craving for humour, with a bit of a focus on family relationships thrown in.

Meanwhile, Matt Brown's Mutant Zombies series (with other books including aliens and killer vending machines) is sure to satisfy those looking for goo, surreal humour and a fantastical plot.

For books with a character you love to hate

The Secret Starling

Illustration: Kim Geyer

There is of course the dark humour of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events books, featuring the child-hating Count Olaf. Or try Judith Eagle's The Secret Starling, a story in which Clara lives a solitary life dictated by her mean uncle's strict, puritanical regime until a breath-taking adventure provides a way out of his grasp.

Oh, and the Ice Queen in Abi Elphinstone's Sky Song will send delicious shivers down the spine.

For suggestions from Andy Stanton himself

The Iron Man

Illustration: Andrew Davidson

We had to ask Mr Gum's creator Andy Stanton for his ideas!

'Even in a funny book you have to make the reader care about your story, and that means giving your characters real problems and emotions,' he said. 'Two of my favourite books do this brilliantly: Here Comes Charlie Moon by Shirley Hughes, and The Eighteenth Emergency by Betsy Byers. Both are bursting with warmth and heart.

'The Iron Man by Ted Hughes is one of the most beautifully written children's books ever. It's quite unlike anything else, and will challenge and provoke thought in readers of all ages. I love it so much that I included an affectionate nod to it in You're a Bad Man, Mr Gum! I wonder if you can find it (clue: it's somewhere in Chapter 2).

'Happy reading, you nibbleheads!'

Join in!

Now it's your turn! We'd love to hear your suggestions about what to read after Mr Gum - maybe you've just stumbled across a story you think would be perfect, or perhaps children you know have been in this exact situation!

On Twitter, @KathrynEvansInk suggested anything by Philip Ardagh, 'especially The Grunts' (and Philip himself jumped in to suggest his Grubtown Tales and the Eddie Dickens trilogy too). 

Meanwhile, @cordotron suggested Andy Shepherd's The Boy Who Grew Dragons, saying: 'My children couldn't stop talking about it and kept asking for story time to find out what would happen next!' That sounds like a ringing endorsement to us. 

Do keep letting us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below or by tweeting us @BookTrust with the hashtag #WhatToReadAfter. We'll update this page with our favourite ideas soon...

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