It’s been eight long years since we last had a new talking-cane-toad-adventure from Australia’s Morris Gleitzman. After his first story featuring cane toads, the aptly named Toad Rage, we have loved keeping up with Limpy’s antics and were very excited to hear that the gang are all back in Gleitzman’s newest book, Toad Delight!
Limpy is worried. It feels like all the humans just aren’t getting him. They think all cane toads are greedy, bug guzzling machines and that is most certainly not always the case! As more and more of his relatives are ending up flat as a pancake on the side of the road (RIP, Uncle Spencer), Limpy decides it is time to take action, and he’ll need all the help he can get. Too bad his beloved cousin Goliath has fallen in love for the first time and is a little distracted – who knew penguin backpacks could be so irresistible?
There’s a lot of fun to be had here. Gleitzman is known for his excellent sense of humour, and Toad Delight is no different. Kids and adults alike will find themselves chuckling along, especially as Goliath falls hopeless in love with Penny the penguin backpack. “You’ll get over her,” says Charm, Limpy’s younger sister: “I promise you will. You’ll meet a lovely esky and forget all about her.” Several of the laugh-out-loud moments also come at the expense of the technology and social media obsessed humans, as Gleitzman seems to relish commenting on the world from a perspective a little lower to the ground.
Not only are there lots of laughs in Toad Delight, there’s also a strong message. When Limpy first decides to try to rebrand cane toads in the eyes of Australia, his parents are sceptical: “maybe you have to accept that the world is too big and complicated and full of problems for one individual to make a difference,” says Limpy’s mother. He is undeterred, and as the story progresses Limpy is brave enough to stand (or hop) up for what he believes in, and the lesson here is that everyone else can, too.
At 130 pages and with short chapters, Toad Delight is a great choice for primary schoolers aged about 6-12 to read independently. While this is the fifth in the series, kids can definitely pick up the book and engage with Limpy’s escapades without having read any of the others. If you or your child does want to go back to the start, Toad Rage is #1!
Toad Delight is exactly the kind of book we have come to expect from Morris Gleiztman – hilarious, but with a lot of heart. We think the young readers of Australia will really enjoy the latest adventures of Limpy and his friends, and we can’t wait to see what happens to them all next.
We spoke to Morris about why he loves writing for kids, his favourite childhood author, and why the choice of cane toads in the first place (it involves utes) – click here to read our interview!