Muncle Trogg is a giant, albeit a very small one. He lives with his mother, father, brother, baby sister and fellow giants in Mount Grumble, safely hidden away from humans, or Smallings as the giants call them. Life in Mount Grumble is delightfully grubby: the giants are proud of their warts, boils and bristles; they snack on delicacies such as squirrels-on-a-skewer, ditchwater broth and chunky hedgehog pie.
Despite this however, Muncle’s world will be very familiar to young readers. He is regularly picked on by his big brother, occasionally bullied by his school mates, and often bored by his teachers! When he learns that his new found talent for riding a dragon doesn’t count towards the giant equivalent of SATs, his heartfelt cry is one that will have resounded round every house with children in the land, ‘It’s not FAIR!’
In fact this is a very traditional story, with a plot that is the staple of lots of the best children’s adventures: a small person who, mocked by those around him, discovers that he is not only as good as everyone else, but actually smarter and braver than they are, and then gets to prove it.
Janet Foxley won the Times Children’s Fiction Competition with Muncle Trog against stiff opposition and also secured one of the coveted slots on the new Richard and Judy children’s book club. It is easy to see why. The novel is enormously satisfying, a hugely enjoyable romp, with some great characters (including a wonderfully badly behaved young dragon called Snarg) and lots that will have children laughing out loud. The book’s design, all smudged pages and knowingly annotated sketches, adds even more to its appeal.
The story ends with Muncle cleverly averting a Smalling invasion of the giants’ kingdom, but it would appear that there are further adventures in store for him: Mount Grumble just might be a live volcano! Muncle’s fans can look forward to an explosive return!