Charlie Chumpkins

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

Helen Laycock’s short stories have been successful in many writing competitions, and her first attempt at play-writing secured her a shortlisting in Pint-Sized Plays in 2016. She has compiled three short story collections and is currently working on three more. Helen also writes flash fiction, and has been featured in The Best of CafeLit for the last four consecutive years, as well as having many pieces published online.
Her poetry has most recently appeared in Popshot Magazine, The Caterpillar and Full Moon and Foxglove (Three Drops Press). Her poems appear in several further anthologies, and, since winning the David St. John Writing Awards for Novice Poetry in 2006, her work has been acknowledged in many other competitions.
In addition, she has penned nine children's books for 8-12-year-olds.
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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.