Charlie Chumpkins

Children - Adventure
252 Pages
Reviewed on 03/10/2018
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Author Biography

Helen Laycock's stories, successful in many competitions, appear in anthologies, magazines and in her own collections. Her first attempt at play-writing secured her a shortlisting in Pint-Sized Plays in 2016.
In 2018, she was commissioned as a lead writer at Visual Verse and her flash has featured in several editions of The Best of CafeLit. Pieces have been showcased in the Cabinet of Heed, Reflex Fiction and Lucent Dreaming – whose inaugural flash competition she won. She was longlisted in Mslexia’s 2019 competition and her work has been selected to appear in the Flash Flood Journal as part of National Flash Fiction Day.
She has penned nine children's books for 8-12-year-olds and is employed as a writer by an educational publisher.
Helen Laycock's poetry has appeared in several publications, most recently Popshot, Poems for Grenfell (Onslaught) and Full Moon and Foxglove (Three Drops Press). Her children's poetry has been twice published in The Caterpillar. She won the David St. John Writing Awards for Novice Poetry in 2006.



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I first got the idea for the character of Charlie when I was a primary school teacher. I was leading a poetry session where I asked the children to describe the world from the viewpoint of an ant - a puddle would be like an ocean, for example.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Gail Kamer for Readers' Favorite

Imagine discovering a tiny little man living under your bed. One you can talk to and play with. That’s exactly what Sam found one morning. The two become friends and Sam even buys a doll house for his friend, Charlie, to live in. Charlie and Sam decide to keep Charlie’s existence a secret and Sam often carries Charlie around with him in his pocket. Because Charlie is so tiny, everyday events are a challenge for him. Helen Laycock shares Charlie and Sam’s adventures in her book, Charlie Chumpkins. Charlie flies in an airplane, dives down the drain to rescue Sam’s mother’s ring, is used in a magician’s trick, is accidentally photocopied at Sam’s school, rides on the back of a bird to rescue Sam, and visits a bride and groom sitting on top of a wedding cake.

Helen Laycock’s Charlie Chumpkins reminds me of Stuart Little. The story lines are similar. Stuart Little is a tiny mouse born into a family of humans. Charlie Chumpkins is the story of a tiny person living among normal-sized humans. Another similarity is the sampling of adventures the two experience. Many are very comical and both characters model positive reactions to life’s mishaps. The ending lines to the wedding scene are hilarious. This book is recommended for grades four to six. I believe even third graders would enjoy the book as reading material. Of course, it could be read to children of lower levels and I believe they would enjoy the humor and the suspense of how Charlie will survive the current mishap. I recommend this for young readers who enjoy humor and adventure.