Trip round the gender bend

21st September 2001 at 01:00
The gang of three in the new Jiggy McCue story, The Toilet of Doom by Michael Lawrence (Orchard Books pound;3.99) - previous titles were The Killer Underpants and The Poltergoose, which was shortlisted for a Blue Peter award - have to get used to one another's bodies in a wild and wacky sex-change adventure.

A new computer game, The Toilet of Doom, appeals to the gang's lavatorial sense of humour, and they can't resist hitting F for Flush. But the game, still under development, has unforeseen consequences.

Jiggy and Angie swap bodies, leading to the kind of situations found in Bill's New Frock (Anne Fine's excellent short chapter book about gender identity). Just when Jiggy thinks he has his body back, he realises that it's not his, but his friend Pete's.

The style is bright and racy and the pre-adolescent humour will be a hit with Years 5 and 6, as will the burlesque mayhem in Prince Dandypants and the Masked Avenger by Kaye Umansky (Puffin pound;4.99). This is one of the author's typically hilarious madcap stories and is a fast-moving tale about a narcissistic young prince called Daniel. It comes complete with 18th-century-style chapter summaries and is further enlivened by Trevor Dunton!s illustrations.

Michael Thorn is deputy head of Hawkes Farm primary school, Hailsham, East Sussex

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