Yellowbird Education Book of the Month, May 2019

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Little Badman and the Invasion of the Killer Aunties, by Humza Arshad and Henry White.

Now, from a grammatical point of view, I have to say that this isn’t my top pick. I’ve always been a bit down on the David Walliams books for the same reason, but, on the basis that all reading is good, I decided to give this a go.  

I really only picked it up because one of my daughters had been talking about a You-Tuber called Humza Arshad and I recognised the name. I’m glad I did. Little Badmanis a really clever book. Not because it sets out to be, but precisely because it doesn’t. It doesn’t want to be the new Roald Dahl. It just wants to be what it is. Perhaps, the writers could be described as more You-Tubers than writers, but that is certainly not meant to be a criticism. It works, because it is fast paced and funny. It talks to the reader in the vernacular and I’m sure the young will love it. At last, I’ve found something funnier and - in my opinion - better, than Walliams and Baddiel. 

So, grammar purists, beware! Here’s an example of the style: ‘But now these aunties are trying to mess with my music, so me and my best friends Umer and Wendy are going to hunt for the truth. Cos something big and bad is going on and we won't let anything mess with my music... or you know, the world.’

Humza Khan is a rapper. His ‘handle’ is Little Badmanand strange things are happening. The aunties are taking over. Even his teachers are being replaced by them. Watch out for the aliens, slugs and the cameo by Grandpa. It also literally ‘does the trick’! There are some good positive themes about family life and trusting who you are. These add a layer to the book that may not be immediately obvious. It also has illustrations and I have no doubt that Little Badmanwill soon be featuring heavily on dressing-up days at most schools. 

It would suit readers of 9-12 (younger, too, if read to them by an older reader).  

Ignoring grammar, we give this a definite 5 Yellowbirds out of 5:

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ps. It is published by Puffin – that speaks volumes.