Review: Muddle Earth by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell


Where would you find a perfumed bog filled with pink sticky hogs and exploding gas frogs? A wizard Randalf with only one spell, his ogre cook Norbert and his familiar, sarcastic blue budgie Victoria? In Muddle Earth, anything can happen – and usually does. Joe Jefferson, ordinary schoolboy from ordinary earth, becomes warrior-hero Joe the Barbarian, and conquers Englebert the Enormous ogre, Margot the dragon, and evil mastermind Dr Cuddles of Giggle Glade.


I’d had this book sat on my TBR shelf for absolutely yonks after buying it on a whim.  I was told it was a very amusing book and that I’d probably like it so I nabbed it and it remained on my shelf for over a year.  Shameful, but I’ve finally read and ready to give my thoughts.

Muddle Earth is a book of madness and a bit of mayhem.  It’s a bit of comedy, lots of adventure and a dragon.  As we all know; a book can be made twice as good by simply adding a dragon.  The mis-matched gang of questers are a comedy goldmine with the bickering between Randalf the wizard and his budgie Victoria along with his sensitive but clumsy Ogre cook.  Of course, every adventure tale needs a Warrior-hero and ours is in the form of Joe, an average, young boy who’s been plucked from our world by accident along with his dog.  Between them, they must defeat the horrid Dr Cuddles and please the Horned Baron.  Just your average day in Muddle Earth.

This book is a wonderful collection of nonsense that pokes fun at fantasy stories, namely Lord of the Rings, but in the way that you make fun of a beloved family member: you laugh but you do it in a caring way.  It’s full of lovely wacky moments that, out of context, sound too silly to even work but they really do.  This book is a great book for reluctant readers as it’s a proper sized book but can be easily read in bite-sized chunks.  It’s made up of lots of moments and mini-adventures so it’s a good bed-time read as well as an indulgent one for a Sunday afternoon.

Funny, silly and gorgeously illustrated by the master that is Chris Riddell, who picks the perfect moments to capture in pen and ink.  Excellent stuff for all ages.

Published by Macmillan Children’s Books and is available online and in bookshops now

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