Archie’s Unbelievably Freaky Week – by Andrew Norriss, illustrated by Hannah Shaw

They’re back in another lol book: the accident prone Archie Coates with a gift for getting into scrapes, Cyd, the omniscient friend with a gift for sorting things out and Archie’s Mum, the maternal Victor Meldrew who despairingly refuses to believe the amount of trouble that one child can get into. Join them in a series of hilarious new adventures that will have you doubled up with laughter.

In this book, Archie’s escapades are all centred around school and involve that eccentric band of worthies universally known as supply teachers. Archie’s usual teacher, who meets each of his new exploits with patient good humour helped by lucid explanations from Cyd, is in hospital. In spite of the Head’s best efforts to warn the supply teachers about Archie, things soon go badly wrong.

On Monday morning, the tattooed Miss Hurrell accuses Archie of mugging and murder before deciding that professional wrestling is less stressful than teaching. All goes well with Miss Humber on Tuesday until they find a large Brazilian Wandering Spider in the bananas. Wednesday sees the arrival of Miss Henley since Tuesdays’ incumbent is still paralyzed in hospital. Miss Henley’s death fixation makes her a tricky companion for Archie and Cyd when they end up locked in the stock cupboard with her. Mrs Hemp, Thursday’s victim of chaos theory, is confident that after forty years as a teacher nothing can faze her. Until, that is, Archie appears to turn himself into a sentient dog after which she returns gratefully to her retirement.

On Friday, running out of supply teachers, the Head decides to ask Archie to escort the Health and Safety Inspector around the site rather than allow him into his class. Read the book to find out exactly how the Inspector ends up in an ambulance with a toilet bowl on his head – it involves goats, a gun and some hydrogen gas. At the weekend the strands come together; all of the teachers’ dreams are fulfilled thanks to the unwitting Archie, Cyd gets the surprise of her life and Mrs Coates is left in splendid but isolated unbelief.

The humour is classic Norriss, enhanced by Shaw’s line drawings. A copy should be kept in every classroom for independent readers to enjoy or to read aloud with a class as shared fun. But be warned – wherever you keep your copy of the book, do be careful to hide it when the supply teacher arrives.


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