We’re delighted to welcome author David Solomons to Story Snug as part of his My Cousin Is a Time Traveller blog tour. My Cousin is a Time Traveller is the fifth and final book in the series about Luke Parker and his superhero brother, Zack, aka Star Lad.
The Story: Luke’s brother, Zack, has decided to give up his superpowers. Luke’s Dad has started having household gadgets delivered to him by drone. Luke’s cousin, Dina, has become a time traveller. Luke, his family and friends are all under threat from ordinary household appliances that are planning to take over the world.
In a race against time they must find a way to defeat powerful appliance Servatron and break the influence that Billy Dark’s new book, Star Power and the Revenge of the Plasmatrons, is having on its readers.
My Cousin is a Time Traveller is action packed and full of humour and exciting twists. Luke and his friends’ adventure is fast paced and involves superpowers, time travelling and rogue household appliances!
This is such an original adventure and the absurdity of many of the situations made us laugh out loud – the descriptions of Servaton and Dad’s talking toaster who calls everybody Nigel. There were also mini mysteries and unanswered questions that kept us turning the pages. Who exactly is Christopher Talbot? What is Serge’s hobby? Why does the toaster only understand German?
My Cousin is a Time Traveller is an amusing page turner that finds Luke and his friends in some dangerous and quite absurd situations. But what are David’s thoughts on comedy for children? He’s joined us to talk about farts, puns and…
Sooty and Me
Watching Sooty and Sweep got me thinking about the essence of comedy for kids. For those too young to remember, I’m referring to a TV puppet show that featured a mute, yellow bear, a squeaking grey dog and a talking female panda. Oh, and a human being – or custard-pie receptacle – who in my day was called Matthew, but more recently goes by Richard.
I love a puppet show. Always have. I got my kids into The Sooty Show on ITV and they quickly worked their way through the latest series, so I went looking for the old stuff online. Leaving aside the charming period misogyny – “Can we have a boy from the audience to be the goalkeeper, and a girl for the secretary?” – there’s a wonderful episode where Matthew is performing to a gathering of rapt schoolchildren. At one point, Sooty, the Zen-like yellow bear, gets hold of a water-pistol. He sprays Matthew, the other puppets and the audience to uproarious laughter from the kids. Matthew pauses just for a moment, breaking character to remark with a long-suffering sigh: “Why bother spending years honing a slick comic routine when all you need is a bear with a water-pistol?”
All of which leads me to fart gags. I’m not a fan, but I can’t deny their efficacy in making kids laugh. In the My Brother is a Superhero series I’ve resisted the urge to go that route. Full disclosure, I made a fart gag in 2004, but didn’t inhale. And I am guilty of overusing the word ‘bum’. Though I am trying to reform. I now instigate a bum-pass (stop laughing at the back) at every stage of the writing process, combing my manuscript to cull the egregious monosyllable.
I don’t believe the fart gag will cause the end of civilisation. No, that distinction falls to the Servatron 2000 washer-drier, a futuristic appliance from my latest novel, My Cousin is a Time Traveller. Following a 30-degree Eco wash, the S-2000 becomes self-aware and initiates a take-down of the human race.
My personal downfall is the pun. I. Cannot. Resist. Chapter One of the latest book is entitled That’s the Way the Wookie Crumbles. I make no apologies. For me the pun is a marvellous thing. Denigrated by adults, groaned at by teenagers, but for me it’s a way of warming children up to language. In one mildly amusing flash it exposes the inner workings of words. Indeed, I believe the polyphonic pun is one of the first steps in learning a love for language. And it’s a short hop from there to the big wide world of books. So, let’s call fart gags lesson one, but can we agree that it’s good to move on? Though don’t worry, there will always be a place for a bear with a water-pistol.
Thank you so much for joining us on Story Snug, David. I was a huge Sooty fan as a child and I vividly remember his water pistol! The characters could always be guaranteed to add humour to a familiar, everyday situation!
David Solomons is the author of the bestselling My Brother is a Superhero series, of which the new book My Cousin is a Time Traveller is the fifth and final. My Brother is a Superhero won the Waterstones Children’s Books Prize, a British Book Award and a special Popjam prize at the Lollies. He has been writing screenplays for many years. His first feature film was an adaptation of ‘Five Children and It’ (starring Kenneth Branagh and Eddie Izzard, with gala screenings at the Toronto and Tribeca Film Festivals).
David was born in Glasgow and lives in Dorset with his wife, the novelist Natasha Solomons, their son, Luke, and daughter Lara.
You can read more about David and My Cousin Is A Time Traveller by visiting the other stops on the blog tour.
- Monday 24th June: Books for Topics
- Tuesday 25th June: Book Superhero2
- Wednesday 26th June: Mr E Primary
- Thursday 27th June: Booklover Jo
- Monday 1st July: Nosy Crow Books
Thank you to Nosy Crow Books for sending a copy of My Cousin is a Time Traveller. We will never look at our household appliances in the same way again!