“Whoops – there goes Joe!”

Miles Gibson Illus. Neal Layton



Apr 2006

The zany and intriguingly titled ‘Whoops ‘ there goes Joe!’ forms the sequel to Miles Gibson and Neal Layton’s first collaboration about the Bodkin family; ‘Little Archie’. These are fantastic, affordable-with-pocket-money, perfectly shaped and sized little books ideal for little hands that belong to big readers!
The Bodkin family still live by, or rather attempt to live by, the family maxim ‘You have to stay regular’. However regularity is a rare commodity when Uncle Bernie is about, especially when he is accompanied by ‘an enormous parcel made from cardboard and held together with tape and string’ ‘ a parcel furthermore containing another of his madcap inventions, on this occasion a television’
What could possibly go wrong with a television? When it has added grommets, gizmos, whatsits and thingamajigs, the answer is quite a lot’! Sure enough, before too long baby Joe is addicted to the two-hundred educational channels being pumped into the Bodkin living room. Even the attractions of playing in the garden with Archie and having a strawberry milkshake with mum are diminished now. Mr Bodkin embarks upon the enviable and engaging activity of reading baby Joe a story. All is going well until he falls asleep, then the danger begin as’

‘Whoops ‘ there goes Joe!’

So begins an inter-channel chase made ‘remote ‘ (!) from the reader by its metafictional qualities as first Joe and then Archie are assimilated into the consuming drama of television.
At base, a ripping yarn, this book is also a gentle reminder of the importance of spending quality time with children and a caution against being lured into using the television as constant occupation ‘ one never quite knows just what it is that children might be being sucked into!
It is impossible not to be captivated by the level of attention and detail that has gone into the production of these little books. The pairing of Miles Gibson and Neal Layton is pure gold. Small in stature it might be, but this book, along with its prequel will make a great addition to any child’s bookshelves.

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