• Mart

Super Happy Magic Forest and the Humongous Fungus

Matty Long

If you’re not already a fan of Matty Long’s Super Happy Magic Forest books meet the crew: Hoofius the Faun (a delightful mix of pointy and furry bits), Blossom the hungry unicorn, a fairy called Twinkle, Herbert the sensible gnome and a mushroom named Trevor. These five valiant heroes are about to whisk you off on another hilarious adventure in a land of rainbows, ice-cream trees and butterfly horses.

This time the team are up against Fungellus, a giant, drooling, villainous mushroom who is poisoning the forest with spores. Those very same spores have put the Rainbow Dragon into a coma. Without her spectacular, seven-hued breath giving life to the magic crystals, the forest is doomed! Can our heroes save the day? Will Trevor the Mushroom succumb to Fungellus’s dark temptations? Is Dr Shroomsworth even a real doctor?

Are you getting the picture? This is a fabulously barmy, stream-of-consciousness tale delivering unexpected glee with every turn of the page.

Brilliantly imaginative and perfectly pitched for younger readers, the Super Happy Magic Forest is the kind of world Enid Blyton might have brought to the top of the Faraway Tree if Enid Blyton had been a LOT funnier. Matty Long does not stint on the humour. While our heroes frolic through their bonkers quest, collecting ingredients for a medicine to save the Rainbow Dragon, laughter is packed into every line, into deliciously funny speech-bubble asides, poo gags, and into absurd characters like Fluffy the Admin Bunny, Denise the messenger butterfly and – my favourite – Lenny the caterpillar. As regular readers will know I mark pages with especially funny lines while I read and my copy now has more dog ears than Battersea Dogs Home. I started chuckling at the first line, and didn’t stop until I had finished the last. But Super Happy Magic Forest is more than just a gag-fest. It’s a little slice of genius: enchanting, quirky and completely charming – utterly delightful without being teeth-meltingly sweet. The constant stream of funny takes care of that.

Perfect for younger readers making the leap from picture books to chapter books, it’s also stuffed with illustrations, including – hurrah – a map of the forest (I LOVE maps) as well as gnomes throwing up into ponds, epic mushroom-on-mushroom battles and fairies-gone-bad. Like Elys Dolan, Long illustrates his own books in a semi-comic-book style where the words and pictures take turns to drive the story. It works splendidly.

In short, Super Happy Magic Forest and the Humongous Fungus has the Snort Factor in spades. There’s so much to look at and giggle at, making it a classic bedtime read that will ensure super happy magic dreams. It comes with a very large Snort! stamp of approval and should win a wheelbarrow full of children’s book awards as well as a whole bunch of new fans. On the cover is a quote from Chris Riddell that nails it: “Super funny, super inventive and super silly!”

Victory Pose!

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Reviewer: Martin

Full disclosure: My copy was kindly sent by OUP, who also publish my books. Not that it makes any difference. The Super Happy Magic Forest is brilliant and I stand by that.

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