The Wrong Pong by Steven Butler

Brace yourselves! Giggles ahead!

Publisher: Puffin Books
Published: 5/5/2011 

A bit of a changeling story this one. Neville, a perpetual worrier, is one day yanked down the look by a troll, who thought it was his own little troll (a troll-et?) Pong. He’s taken down the drains all the way to Troll Land, where poor Neville has to work out how on Earth to get along with his new Mooma and Dooda. More importantly though, how on Earth will he stay on the good side of his new sister, the hulking, honking, foot-stomping Rubella? Take a look at her on the right here, would you want to mess with her?

I loved this story. It’s brilliant for a giggle, especially with all the troll’s salivating at the thought of Left Sock Stew (Want to know why it’s only Left Sock Stew? Apparently the left sock is savoured purely for the extra level of cheese any left sock will always have over any right socks. Now you know. You’re welcome.). Meanwhile, Neville’s parents carry on about their day, completely oblivious that little Pong has taken Neville’s place in the household. With their noses stuck in their newspapers, chores and jobs, they somehow entirely miss that Neville is not a little boy but instead is a rather rambunctious (always wanted to use that word) little Troll. 

It all comes to a head with the annual Trollapalooza. This is a regular Troll knees-up and Neville, as a part of the Troll family, must of course come, despite the very thought sending his knees knocking and his lip quivering.  He does of course go (would you want to upset a troll?) and finds himself gradually learning that it’s rather fun after all to be a troll for a bit and get along with others. That’s the whole point of the story – to accept that not everyone else is like you, some are a bit different  and that if you get past that, you might just enjoy yourself!
Brilliantly giggle-worthy story, I love the way Mooma and Dooda instantly treat Neville as their own little boy and do their best to take care of their utterly bizarre (to them) new son. It’s beautifully illustrated too (check out Steven Butler’s website for some more pictures!) and very expressive all round. I especially like the way the Trolls speak as it’s very reminiscent of the way the BFG talks, which might mean it’ll be a bit tricky for younger 5-8 readers to read but it still gives a lot to the characters and makes them far more interesting. Besides, playing with language is always fun! Heartily recommended and really needs to be more prominent. 
Find it here

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