Mum has all kinds of strange ideas: she'll feed you food pills, so she doesn't have to cook. There's always nail soup when the cupboard is bare. If you're not careful, she'll make you go to school from six in the morning to five at night (if she doesn't come with you!).
And a special warning, keep an extra close eye on Mum when the circus rolls into town. She might try to get in the lion's cage, or even sell you to the circus.
Flying to school in a Lancaster bomber, you've got to keep your eyes peeled for Messerschmitt attacks. But that's not the half of it! It was a battle of wits, when mum got that look in her eye.
When Mum Went Funny is another literary treat from the magical pen (and dare I say) warped mind of the master storyteller, Jack Lasenby.
I say warped, because who else would introduce the story as told by a Wise Old Tea-Tree Walking Stick? Well, maybe not warped; but it does show a storyteller at his finest and adds a funny introduction to this volume. The story itself beautifully shows the imagery present in a child's mind - to be able to turn a horse into a Lancaster bomber is no mean feat! Skillfully written from a young child's perspective it illustrates a New Zealand long gone, where one could ride on the back of a truck, or ride to school on a horse and those endless summer days that never rained (I'm out of my depth here - being a pom) and many of the other things that children today will never get to experience because of increased safety, paranoia and political correctness. This is a world in which I wanted to have grown up in, and the timeless world I want for my daughter.
Lasenby's spell will be woven with all readers, young or old, who venture to dip into the wonderful world created by the author; the characters come to life under Lasenby's penmanship (even if it was dictated by a stick!).
I am smitten with Lasenby's world, the Waikato, Waharoa and (though unmentioned in this book) The Vast Untrodden Ureweras and I truly look forward to further forays into this magical country. And Jack, if you are reading this, keep up the good work. I look forward to reviewing many more of your future books. You deserve each and every accolade due to you.
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