Michael Rosen announced the winners of the inaugural Roald Dahl Funny Prize, which honours the funniest books for children.
For children aged six and under, the winning book was The Witch’s Children Go to School by Ursula Jones, Illus. Russell Ayto (Orchard Books).
For children aged seven to fourteen, the winning book was Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear by Andy Stanton, Illus. David Tazzyman (Egmont Press).
Presenting the awards, Michael Rosen said:
“The Witch's Children Go to School is a rumbustious tale in the tradition of mischievous spirits causing mayhem and disorder where it's least wanted. Every page shouts with the sound of chaos and surprise: we are told that a school is turned into a storybook, the class teacher into the Mad Hatter and the school inspector is turned into a big smelly cheese. And that's not even half of it.
“Andy Stanton has developed a comic style all of his own, full of ludicrous similes, uproarious bathos, absurdity and grossness. Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear fulfils the requirement that a truly funny novel should have at least a laugh a page and a gasp-making denouement.”
Sophie Dahl commented:
"Chaos, pandemonium and a cursory tiger–all these things and more when The Witches Children Go to School. Between them Ursula Jones and Russell Ayto have created a comic caper that guarantees giggles and a general bewitching of all who read it. Hurray for Polly and Padlock the Dancing Bear, and down with revolting Mr Gum! Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear by Andy Stanton is quirky, odd, and deliciously funny. It is everything the Roald Dahl Funny Prize was invented for; outstanding, original, ageless and irreverent fiction married with the madcap illustrations of David Tazzyman. Unanimously funny and brilliant."
The winners were presented with a cheque for £2,500 at a ceremony at the Unicorn Theatre, London.
The judging panel comprised the author Sophie Dahl, the comedian Dara O’Briain, author Kaye Umansky and author, illustrator and political cartoonist Chris Riddell. The panel was chaired by the Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen.
There was an interview with Chris Riddell and Andy Stanton on the Today programme 14 November where it sounded as though there was only one winner - no mention of the younger prize winner The Witches Children - unless I was entirely distracted by breakfast...