Review by Frank Plowright
In Catastrophe Calling we met Grace Gibson, newest resident of Catastrophe and newest pupil at Calamity Primary School. When others accepted regular attacks from super villains escaping from the nearby asylum, Grace took decisive action, developing gum based super powers with her chemistry set.
On the front endpapers creator Andi Watson modifies his map of Catastrophe (the fire station’s caught fire again), and his rear endpaper cutaway of Calamity Primary. It’s not every school that has a decontamination chamber or a trauma centre, but then not every primary school has barrels of toxic waste stored in the attic. One might think these are exactly the items a School Health Board might pick up, but they’re distracted by the presence of the Dusty Bunny, determined to wipe scrubbing and soap from the school agenda.
As in Catastrophe Calling, the resourceful Gum Girl and her gum-based protective devices prove equal to anything thrown at her from the likes of Octopus Prime and Sick St Nick. The latter is operating a shoddy Christmas theme park in the middle of summer and acquiring slave labour. The visuals of that particular story have origins in a UK Christmas theme park closed for providing poor value for money, and two of the three stories on offer are in fused with the spirit of Scooby-Doo.
As with its predecessor, charm, whimsy and Watson’s fine cartooning all score, and it’s another book that will entertain the younger child of the house without the parental units resenting repeat readings.