Sitcoms and soaps

More of Moya Simons's very funny stories for older primary readers feature in Dead Funny! (Orchard Pounds 9.99) about Danny Thompson and his best mate Corky; not forgetting Danny's baby sister Bub-Tub, still not toilet-trained, filling (and over-filling) her nappy in as noisome a way as ever.

There have been two previous collections, the most recent being Dead Worried! Each story is complete in itself but based on the same set of characters, which gives them a cumulative effect. By the time Mrs Douglas, mother of Taffy (a friend of Danny and Corky) is made the main subject of "How to be a Soapie Star", the reader is already familiar with her habit of declaiming lines around the house. Simons's humour might not be as wildly inventive as that of her fellow-Australians, Paul Jennings and Morris Gleitzman, but it manages to suck all the comedy possible from everyday situations. The funniest stories tend to involve Danny's infatuation with his classmate, Mandy Miller, but my favourite is "Togetherness", a gently hilarious description of the Thompson family's efforts to do without a television.

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