Up Dad is like slipping on your jim jams, sipping a hot chocolate and
watching your very favourite film with your bestest friends.
It’s warm, witty
and intelligent with just enough naughty bits to truly bring the shock factor
and laugh-out-loud moments.
time. Gleitzman had me from Two Weeks With The Queen, and he’s held onto
me (sometimes tenuously, as I grappled with the content in his more challenging
works) ever since.
Digging Up Dad is a breath of unique and refreshingly original air, at a
time when many of us need to find our way back to hope and trusting in life
It seems this was intentional on the part of the author:
I found myself…
wondering if young people might be able to do a bit of making things better
themselves. Not just in their own lives, but also in the lives of their
families, pets, teachers, neighbours, local shopkeepers, members of parliament
That it’s written specifically for 9 – 11-year-olds, is the icing on the cake.
These young people are at the age where difficult questions may bob to the
surface and individual vulnerabilities – as well as acts of courage – are often
borne or deepened. Digging Up Dad has protagonists in this age group and
every one of them manages to make the world a better place, whether through
intent or sheer luck.
The exception to this is the story featuring a road bump, toy car and coat
hanger as the main characters, and which has a young girl as an incidental, yet
pivotal, background narrative. But that’s not important right now.
constancy, humour and energy mean that, as expected, each of these short stories
is quite wonderful. Never preachy and only slightly earnest if you hold your
tongue a certain way with your head at a specific angle in a strong northerly,
this book nevertheless leaves you with a profound sense of feeling better about
I wish I could
give you an example of my favourite story but I literally cannot. Whether it’s
politicians behaving badly in chambers (yelling, pointing and swearing at each
other) and then being given a stern talking to by their primary school teachers,
or kids who set the house on fire and smash the precious family car while
babysitting their twin cousins, you can’t actually shake the wonderful sense
that you’re being taken on an epic journey by a master story-teller.
As a reader,
there’s great comfort, gratitude and joy to be found in letting yourself fall
into this space, and in allowing these optimistic stories to wash over you.
Hilarious. Uplifting. All at the same time.
Read all about Morris’ ‘secret friends’ and how they inspire him in his illuminating Guest Post.
Title: Digging Up Dad – And Other Hopeful (And Funny) Stories
Author: Morris Gleitzman
Publisher: Puffin, $16.99
Publication Date: October 2022
For ages: 9 -– 11
Type: Junior Fiction