Gimmicks are often the be all and end all of children’s books. There’s a general feeling that children have short attention spans and if you want to get them enthralled, what you need is a flashy idea to keep them engaged. This, like most generic shards of wisdom, is only partially true; a good story will enthral anyone of any age, regardless of distractions. The Gumazing Gum Girl!- Gum Luck, attempts to do both by having a gimmick and fun little story.
Basically, the entire book smells of bubblegum. It’s just smelly enough not to be cloying and the story is just silly enough to keep the young and the young at heart amused. The book revolves around Gabby Gomez, a child with amazing super powers. When Gabby chews gum, she gains super stretchy super sticky powers. Of course, her parents have no idea of her amazing abilities, and her father is a dentist. This means that Gabby isn’t allowed gum. After all, too many sweets cause cavities.
Matters are made worse when a Chef’s hat wearing super villain comes to town. Will Gabby Gomez save the day? Well of course she will, this isn’t a terribly nuanced book. It is, however, fun. The illustrations are broad, bold and flashy. It’s a proper looking book, meaning that little ones can get through it with little assistance and feel pretty good about themselves. Gabby herself is Latina, which gives the author a reason to squeeze in a few little Spanish language lessons and the whole thing is long enough to keep a child enthralled but not so long that adults get bored.
The artwork is clear, clever and the humour is well pitched. This is a book for those of us who are a little bit sick of things such as Captain Underpants but still have people in their lives who want a bit of harmless and deeply silly humour. Gumazing Gum Girl! – Gum Luck is unlikely to win awards, but it’s worth sticking with, as the outcome will be sweet. The plot is a little hard to swallow, but the art really pops. Worth a look.
GUMAZING GUM GIRL! – GUM LUCK / AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR: RHODE MONTIJO / CONTRIBUTOR: LUKE REYNOLDS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW