Recently Moontrug came across a book whose main character had one of the best names out there: Osbert Brinkhoff. And his job title? AVENGER. Oooooohhhhh. Seconds later the book was in Moontrug’s handbag and her journey through the sinister streets of Schwartzgarten began. Osbert The Avenger is the first book in the gruesomely funny Tales from Schwartzgarten series, a tale of dark delights and ghastly goings-on, of injustice and revenge. The villains are vicious. The settings are sinister. And good does not always prevail…
Osbert is an exceptionally bright 11-year-old who, after a lot of revising mathematical equations and Latin verbs, secures a place at The Institute, a terrifying school where the brightest of Schwartzgarten are educated. But the tutors there are worse than Miss Trunchbull and the Demon Headmaster combined. They’re evil villains who want to crush the souls of the pupils they teach. And so when Osbert challenges their intellect, they turn against him, and it’s up to Osbert to make things right. Through a series of gruesomely awful but terribly funny deeds, Osbert deals out justice to his malevolent tutors. Perhaps being brought up by a nanny whose motto is ‘Do unto others before they can do unto you’ and whose lover mysteriously drank a whole bottle of cyanide in his beetroot schnapps without a word of complaint, was the best upbringing Osbert could have hoped for…
The author, Christopher William Hill, describes the tutors (Doctor Zilbergeld, Professor Ingelbrod, Anatole Strauss and the Principal) so brilliantly you can’t help but admit that you’d be right on Osbert’s tail to finish them all off. Only Mr Lomm, with his ‘pink face’ and ‘almond oil’ scent deserve our sympathies – and respect – for it is he who comes up with a genius way of making the other tutors think he is torturing his pupils in the classroom when actually he’s the only one giving them hope. Nanny, too, is a force to be reckoned with and she beats Mary Poppins in style hands down: ‘she fished a large and earthy beetroot from the bottom of her bag and hurled it at the bailiff’s head.’ This is then promptly followed by a hard, dry lump or rye bread which Nanny bludgeons into the bailiff’s eye.
At the heart of the book is Osbert’s clear-thinking and witty mind. His cool, rational mind is both hilarious and unsettling: ‘Doctor Zilbergeld was not a young woman, and she had already spent a long life on earth. But Osbert was determined that she should not outstay her welcome.’ Let’s just hope Doctor Zilbergeld likes apple strudel… So if you prefer cleavers to kittens and fiends to fairies then this is your book. In fact it’s so good it’s made its way onto Moontrug’s Altocumulus Tower – a Roald Dahl style adventure for VERY brave 7 year-olds (and upwards). It’s up to you to decide if Osbert is performing a series of good deeds, or whether he’s taken Nanny’s early advice a little too far…
Now on the subject of ‘good deeds’, Moontrug was recently sent a FANTASTIC story by 7-year-old, Isadora Bell, entitled ‘A Good Deed.’ Forget evil tutors and formidable nannies, here we’ve got a brave little dog called Rocky. And Moontrug can’t help but think that if Rocky and Osbert teamed up, then there would be trouble in the streets…
This is fascinating story about a small, skinny dog called Rocky, a man called Bob and a priceless wallet. This wallet was very important because it belonged to Bob, and Bob was almost the best News Reporter in the world. He wrote exciting stories and had fascinating pictures to put on the front page of the newspaper.
Now, let’s get on to the story. So, one day Bob was having a very nice walk round the park after work when he thought he felt something. He looked around and put his hand in his pocket and suddenly noticed a man running away with his wallet!
‘THIEF, THIEF!’ he cried but he had come to a deserted place in the street where there were only stray dogs.
Then Bob noticed something strange, very strange. One dog was looking at him like he understood him, but this dog was not a stray. Bob looked at the dog’s collar and it read, ‘Rocky from Angelby Street, Singapore’. Suddenly Rocky saw the man running away. Rocky chased after the man like mad. Finally the dog reached the man and bit the man, HARD.
‘OWWWWWWWWW!!!’ the man screeched and dropped the wallet. The dog picked it up.
Rocky ran to Bob and gave him the wallet, ‘Wow, thanks!’ Bob said. Rocky seemed to understand him.
Suddenly an old women came running down the street screaming ‘ROCKY, ROCKY WHERE ARE YOU?!’
‘HERE HE IS!’ Bob shouted back.
Soon the lady came close enough to speak normally. ‘Oh, oh I don’t know how to thank you,’ said the lady.
‘He saved my life!’ said Bob.
‘How?’ asked the lady. So Bob had to retell the whole story. You may be wondering what happened to the Thief? He got sent to prison. So Bob had a very good newspaper article the next morning. Everything was good; everybody was happy. Rocky did a good deed.