Publication Order of Just Books
Publication Order of Bum Trilogy Books
Publication Order of Bad Book Books
Publication Order of Schooling Around! Books
Publication Order of Treehouse Books
Publication Order of Standalone Novels
Publication Order of Collections
Publication Order of Chapter Books
Publication Order of Non Fiction Books
Artists often say that children are the best critics. It does not matter whether they are reading, watching or listening, kids are sincere- they are not burdened with common courtesy or hypocrisy. They simply either like or dislike whatever is presented to them. It goes without saying then that writing for children is very difficult, yet very rewarding mission. Not even a job, since you get the chance to influence and take part in forming someone’s personality. Nevertheless, if you sweep award ceremonies year after year, then it seems that you are on the right track. And that is exactly the case with Andy Griffiths, an acclaimed Australian author, whose imaginative creations inspired the children in his country, as well as children from the other continents. There is probably not a child in Australia who has not heard about “Just!” or “Treehouse books”, and this is the story about the man behind the curtains.
Andy Griffiths was born in Melbourne in 1961. He took several career paths- those of a musician, an English teacher, a writer and a publisher. From his early childhood, Griffiths was an avid reader. He simply devoured literary works, especially those written by Dr. Seuss and Enid Blyton. Griffiths is known for his frequent use of nonsensical verse- this is an influence of Carroll’s magnum opus, “Alice in Wonderland”, which is one of Griffith’s favorite books. When you add up all those influential forces, you get the odd and magical, yet entertaining world, that children (but also adults) across the world cherish and read with great pleasure. Griffiths himself stated that his inspiration sprang from the need to bring some laughter to the harsh reality of everyday life. As a teacher, he was in a position to communicate with children and find out what their expectations, fears, and wishes were. This first-hand input is very useful to him during his creative process. This Australian writer often teams up with Terry Denton who illustrates his books and creates their memorable visual style. Griffiths’ efforts were recognized as he won numerous awards and sold hundreds of thousands of copies of his books.
It is difficult to count the awards that Griffiths won, however among dozens of recognitions he got, some of them stand out such as several YARA and Young Australian Best Book Awards for his “Just!” series, Kids Own Australian Literary Award (KOALA) and A.P.A Design Award. Now it seems strange that he managed to release his first book only after eight publishers declined his manuscript. His “Just!” series was adapted as an animated series called “What’s With Andy?”.The show followed the life of Andy, a student who spends his childhood creating convoluted practical jokes in order to become the best prankster in the world. The show ran from 2001 to 2007 and 78 episodes aired. There is another Griffiths’ string of novels that inspired animated series, and that is his famous “Bum trilogy”.
First of the “Bum” novels that set the US market on fire was published in 2001. It was released in Australia under the title “The Day When My Bum Went Psycho”, but in the USA the title was changed as the word “bum” was replaced with the word “butt”. Now, at first a reader may think that the title is a kind of a joke, but it is actually the accurate description of the plot. It is strange to imagine the book series that revolves around talking bottoms and expect it to be readable, however Griffiths somehow got away with it. In some moments, the goofiness of the series somehow resembles the legendary devil-may-care chaos of the Monthy Python troupe. In some moments, it is just about bums.
In the first novel of the series, we meet Zack Freeman, a seemingly ordinary boy. Zack has a problem, though- his “bum” started a life on its own, and went missing. This is quite an unpleasant situation at least, so Zack goes on a quest to find his backside. While on his mission, he meets Silas and Eleonora Stern, father and daughter, who refer to themselves as “The Bum-hunters”. They inform Zack that there is more at stake than just Zack’s bum- it seems as though bums of the universe are involved in a conspiracy to conquer the humankind, and establish the reign in which the positions of the heads and posteriors will be swapped. Their plan is to employ the notorious “Bumcano”, a doomsday device whose characteristics are better left for a reader to discover. Thus, Zack embarks on a mission to save not only his behind, but also the world.
“Zombie Bums from Uranus” is the second installment of the “Bum/Butt” trilogy. It provides Griffiths with yet another chance to toy with the literary conventions and toilet humor as he unravels the story about Zack Freeman. This time, the Earth is endangered by the extraterrestrial forces as the mighty zombie bums are attacking. Another ridiculous plot is set in motion after James and Judi Freeman find alien bum, which they try to examine. However, the experiment does not go as planned, and the mysterious bum escapes to space where it clashes with Uranus. A horrendous incident happens, not unlike those in which comic book villains are created, which brings fallen bums in life and zombifies them. Zack has to reunite with “The Bum-hunters” once again and rescue the planet from the most peculiar invader it has ever encountered. In a baffling series of events, Zack will meet mutant maggots, methane madness, bum-infected people and much, much more.
Griffith’s world is innovative and specific, but there is one thing that one will not find in his work- the routine. This is Griffith’s arch-enemy, both in teaching and writing career. Perhaps there lies the reason why Griffiths stays true to himself and continues to write best-sellers. Moreover, that is how he manages to break best-selling records year after year. That is how he succeeds in making stories about pranksters and bums appealing, instead of gross. That is how children in Australia can not imagine their childhood without Andy, Zack and the rest of the crew. And not just children- adults have become massive fans of Griffiths’ creations, too.
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