Author(s): Russell Hoban
This is a classic tale of the triumph of fooling-around fun over humourless no-nonsense adult disapproval! Tom loves to fool around. He fools around with dropping things from bridges into rivers and he fools around with barrels in alleys. He fools around so much that his maiden aunt, Miss Fidget Wonkham-Strong (who wears an iron hat and takes no nonsense from anyone), sends for Captain Najork and his hired sportsmen to teach Tom a lesson. "Captain Najork," says Aunt Fidget Wonkham-Strong, "is seven feet tall, with eyes like fire and a voice like thunder. He teaches fooling-around boys the lesson they so badly need, and it is not one that they soon forget." Captain Najork lays down a challenge: they will play womble, muck and speedball - in that order. And it turns out not to be Tom who gets taught a lesson after all! This is a HUGE favourite of thousands of '70s and '80s kids who are now book-buying parents. It features the eternally popular theme of a young hero's resourceful defiance of a despotic figure of authority. It is laugh-out-loud funny no matter how many times you re-read it.
In this ebullient classic...Russell Hoban and Quentin Blake champion children and their powers of self-determination. -- Julia Eccleshare The Guardian Zany and anarchic The School Librarian Some picture book pairings are inspired and Quentin Blake/Russell Hoban definitely fall into that category. Tom likes to fool around - so much that his maiden aunt, Miss Fidget Wonkham-Strong, threatens to send for Captain Najork and his hired sportsmen to teach Tom a lesson. But even that doesn't stop Tom's foolery (did you notice that too?) so along comes Captain Najork. He challenges Tom to womble, muck and speedball but Tom turns the tables in this endlessly imaginative quirky story with its amazing use of vocabulary Parents in Touch
Russell Hoban is the renowned author of many famous novels, including Turtle Diary and Riddley Walker, which won the John W. Campbell Award for science fiction. He also wrote over 50 children's books, including such classics as The Mouse and His Child, Bedtime for Frances, The Sea-Thing Child and, most recently, Rosie's Magic Horse. Born in Pennsylvania in 1925, he moved in 1969 to London, where he lived until his death in 2011. Quentin Blake is one of the world's foremost illustrators, particularly renowned for his collaboration with writers such as Russell Hoban, Michael Rosen, Joan Aiken and Roald Dahl. His books have won numerous awards, including the Whitbread Prize, the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration. In 1999 he was appointed the first ever Children's Laureate, in 2005 was created a CBE and in 2013 received a knighthood for his services to illustration. He lives in London, SW5.