I Don’t Believe it, Archie! – by Andrew Norriss, illustrated by Hannah Shaw

To borrow the parlance of the texting generation, this is an lol book – every page will make you laugh out loud.  It recounts just one eventful week in the life of Archie, a week in which he leaves home to run simple errands and finds himself embroiled in one adventure after another.  He unwittingly saves his local library from closure, but only after being super glued to the door handles.

He inadvertently catches a bank robber, but only after narrowly avoiding arrest for shop lifting.  Then there are the curious incidents of the dead dog in his pocket, the kidnap in the park, the lion roaming in a neighbour’s house and the trundling piano . . . . and what is the role of the omniscient Cyd in all of Archie’s adventures?

At the end of each incident he returns home to a maternal Victor Meldrew, who cannot believe that Archie forgets to do even the most straightforward jobs like posting letters and changing library books.  Even after all the strands of the story are hilariously combined at the close of the week, Archie’s Mum remains unrepentantly despairing.

Norriss’s trademark comedic touch pervades every sentence of this book.  It would be thoroughly enjoyed by young independent readers for whom Shaw’s illustrations provide added humour.  But it would also be great to share the fun by reading it aloud to a class.  And reading this book may well make you glad that nothing much out of the ordinary ever happens to you.

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