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1. #688 – The Luck Uglies by Paul Durham & Pétur Antonsson

9780062271501 (1)X
X
The Luck Uglies

Written by Paul Durham
Illustrated by Pétur Antonsson
HarperCollins Children’s Books      4/29/2014
978-0-06-227150-1
390 pages                    Age 8—13
X
X

“Rye O’Chanter has seen a lot of strange things happen in Village Drowning: children are chased through the streets. Families are fined for breaking laws that don’t even exist. Girls aren’t allowed to read anymore, and certain books—books that hold secrets about Drowning’s past—have been outlawed altogether.

“Now a terrifying encounter has eleven-year-old Rye convinced that the monstrous, supposedly extinct Bog Noblins have returned. Before the monsters disappeared, there was only one way to defeat them—the Luck Uglies. But the Luck Uglies have long since been exiled, and there’s nobody left who can protect the village.

“As Rye dives into Downing’s treacherous maze of streets, rules, and lies, she begins to question everything she’s been told about the village’s legend of outlaws and beasts . . . and what she’ll discover is that it may take a villain to save them from the monsters.” [book jacket]

Review
The protagonist—in a story filled with creative, well-developed, essential characters—is eleven-year-old Rye O’Chanter. Rye and younger sister, Lottie, live with their mother, Abby, and Nightshade Fur Bottom O’Chanter (nickname: Shady), the family pet, on Mud Puddle Lane. Muddle Puddle Lane runs close to the salty Bog, which lies near Beyond the Shale (a forest few would dare enter). Rye’s best friend, Quinn Quartermast, and his widowed, blacksmith father, also live on Mud Puddle Lane.

PT2 7 MAP BASED ON AUTHORS CONCEPT WALL

At the opposite edge of town, again beyond the protective village walls, is the River Drowning and, on its coast, The Shambles, an area so lawless, corrupt, and dangerous that even the Earl, his soldiers, and his constable (Boil “the enforcer”), are afraid of its inhabitants and frequently inebriated guests. Rye’s other best friend, Folly Flood, lives here, in The Dead Fish Inn, with her parents and nine older brothers (the toughest men/boys in Village Drowning—toughest of the tough being the conjoined twins).

Now here’s an oxymoron to make this story exciting and relatable. These three kids are good kids.

They listen to their parents—except when they sneak out, use Abby O’Chanter’s (no longer) secret room, or travel by rooftop.

Each obeys the Laws of Longchance—except when running from soldiers, Quinn teaches Rye how to read, or, together, they read a precious (and stolen), banned book.

And, the kids stay put, when told not to stray—so many examples.

Rye O'Chanter

Rye O’Chanter

Last week I mentioned that there was one more middle grade novel that was a WOW! The Luck Uglies is that wow novel. The story cannot be put down. It’s as if the pages turn on their own, keeping you captive, though a willing captive. Rye, Folly, and Quinn are a terrific threesome. They are smart. They are heroes. They are flawed. Rye’s father, Harmless, plays a major role in the magical-action-adventure story, (he is High Chieftain of the Luck Uglies), but not without Rye close by. Rye has her friends, no matter the danger. The Luck Uglies is one of those rare books whose story and characters stick with you long after the back cover closes.

I love the names of people and places. Each—possibly only in my mind—is somehow appropriate. The Village Drowning is always drowning in the Laws of Longchance, fearful of a Bog Noblin or Luck Ugly return, or literally in the River Drowning.  Earl Longchance has a long chance in deed of ever coming out of this story smelling like a rose.

The O’Chanter family live by a code called House Rules.
003_Shady -- make sure they are credited to Pétur Antonson.

House Rule #2:
“He may run and he may hide, but Shady must never go outside.”

This refers to Shady, the family pet. It was imperative that Shady not go outside unless with someone. Why? You will love the answer.

This refers to Shady, the family pet. It was imperative that Shady not go outside unless with someone. Why?   You will love the answer. Another animal, a monkey named Shortstraw, is in the habit of reaching for what it wants. Shortstraw wants Mona Monster,  Lottie’s pink hobgoblin doll. Lottie and Mona are inseparable, so when Shortstick makes a move for Mona, Lottie is right there ready to save her.  Swearing occurs on occasion, especially from the smallest mouth in the house. Little Lottie breaks up the intense action with her comedic action words—nothing for parents to fret.
015_LottieTugofWar

The biggest problem in Village Drowning is Earl Morningwig Longchance. When his father was still alive and ruling, monsters called Bog Noblins were terrifying the village and the village soldiers could not defeat them. The father made a pact—in blood—with the only group capable of defeating the Bog Noblins. This group, a secret society many called criminals, villains, and outlaws (mainly because they were) defeated the Bog Noblins, but not before the father died, passing his authority on to his son, Morningwig. Not a single Bog Noblin has been seen or has terrorized Village Drowning since, yet Earl Morningwig Longchance promptly ignored the blood pact, branded the group outlaws, and banished them from Village Drowning. That group is the infamous Luck Uglies, now disbanded throughout the shale and beyond.

The narcissistic Earl also decreed the Laws of Longchance—keeping villagers poor and the Earl rich. He is an oppressive ruler (women and girls may not learn to read or write, among other things), and the father of one spoilt daughter and one blind, banished, son. Truth be told, Earl Longchance is nothing more than a bully who remains in the safety of Constable Boil’s shadow.

The gigantic, hairy monster Bog Noblins were said to eat inattentive villagers, especially the delicious children, and then make necklaces strung with the feet of their feast. The villagers, believe Bog Noblins are now extinct—are they?—and nothing more than a joke to the secure villagers.

“What has bad breath, one eye, and likes to eat children?
“A Bog Noblin with a stick in its eye.” 

Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Pétur Antonsson.

Can you guess what happens next? Yep, a malnourished baby Bog Noblin (Leatherleaf), returns to the village. Rye encounters it first, but escapes unharmed. She also finally meets her father, Harmless, the High . . . the once High Chieftain of the Luck Uglies. Earl Longchance puts the entire village in extreme danger when he captures Leatherneck, to pretentiously show-off his ability to protect the people. When Leatherleaf’s family—three, larger than Leatherleaf, Bog Noblins, with attitudes—demand their kin be returned, Longchance refuses. What happens next is much too exciting to explain. My fingers could not type fast enough to keep up with my thoughts.

The Luck Uglies is about family and community working together. The line between right and wrong blurs, which might concern parents, but this mirrors real life. No one is all good or all bad. I loved all the intense action, the unexpected surprises, the exciting twists I didn’t see coming, and the end that never completely arrives.

Durham is an awesome writer who knows how to spin an intriguing tale with intelligent humor and characters so believable the reader will immediately relate to them. The world he has built is at once believable and fantastical. Is there anything to complain about The Luck Uglies? I have not found anything. Maybe in Book #2: Fork-Tongue Charmers, but I am not expecting anything to ruin this delicious, not-to-be missed trilogy.

I did mention that The Luck Uglies is a series? Thank your lucky stars. The Luck Uglies series is the one, and only series* that kids who enjoy action and adventure, monsters and mayhem, plus a little bit of magic, should devour this year and every year, until the trilogy unfortunately ends.

THE LUCK UGLIES. Text copyright © 2014 by Paul Durham. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Pétur Antonsson. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, HarperCollins Children’s Books, New York, NY.

Purchase The Luck Uglies at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunesHarperCollins C. B.

Learn more about The Luck Uglies HERE.
Meet the author, Paul Durham, at his website:  http://pauldurhambooks.tumblr.com/

Cybils Interview with author Paul Durham click HERE.

Meet the illustrator, Pétur Antonsson, at his website:  http://paacart.tumblr.com/
Author Paul Durham Interviews Pétur Antonsson click PART#1   PART#2    PART#3

Find more middle grade novels at te HarperCollins Children’s Books website:  http://www.harpercollins.com/

HarperCollins Children’s Books is a division of HarperCollins Publishers.

*The Guardian Herd Series by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

AWARDS
Booklist’s Top 10 First Novels for Youth for 2014

BOOK #2

The Luck Uglies #2: Fork-Tongue Charmers

The Luck Uglies #2: Fork-Tongue Charmers

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Review word count = 950 (Oops! Honest, I did cut . . . and cut . . .)

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. 

ftc

 


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Books for Boys, Debut Author, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series, Top 10 of 2015 Tagged: action-adventure-fantasy, debut, HarperCollins Children’s Books, HarperCollins Publisher, humorous, magical, Paul Durham, Pétur Antonsson, The Luck Uglies, The Village Drowning, trilogy hard to beat. Forked-Tongued Charmers

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2. Miss Emma Ant

My newest picture book for children is here! "Miss Emma Ant" tells the story of  talented, hard-working Emma, the architect for her colony's anthills. Ants in the colony, not recognizing their own special skills, grow jealous of Emma, and taunt her until she quits her job. Chaos ensues! Will pleas from apologetic ants convince Emma to return to work? Vibrant, expressive illustrations and fun

0 Comments on Miss Emma Ant as of 3/9/2015 4:17:00 AM
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3. The Brixton Brothers: The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity written by Mac Barnett, illustrations by Adam Rex, 179pp RL 4

First reviewed in 2009, Mac Barnett's fantastic quartet of Brixton Brothers books is an uncommon contemporary mystery that boys and girls will love. Steve Brixton, a fan of a Hardy Boys-type mystery series, The Bailey Brothers, finds himself embroiled in one case after another, turning to his literary heroes for help, often finding himself in deeper trouble...  I'm sorry. I am apologizing

4 Comments on The Brixton Brothers: The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity written by Mac Barnett, illustrations by Adam Rex, 179pp RL 4, last added: 7/30/2013
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4. Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales : Donner Dinner Party, written and illustrated by Nathan Hale, 126 pp, RL : 3

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - DONNER DINNER PARTY -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> I'll be honest, for as much as a don't like history and I do LOVE Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales, the first two books in what I hope is a very long running

0 Comments on Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales : Donner Dinner Party, written and illustrated by Nathan Hale, 126 pp, RL : 3 as of 8/2/2013 3:36:00 AM
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5. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 1: The Mysterious Howling, by Maryrose Wood, illustrated by Jon Klassen, 267 pp, RL 4

I have had a copy of The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 1: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood on my shelf since 2010 when it was released. While the plot sounded interesting, I have hung on to it for over four years, hoping to get to it someday, because of the completely charming  illustrations by a favorite of mine, Jon Klassen. Now, four years later and four books into

0 Comments on The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 1: The Mysterious Howling, by Maryrose Wood, illustrated by Jon Klassen, 267 pp, RL 4 as of 8/25/2014 4:31:00 AM
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6. The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John, illustrated by Kevin Cornell, 224 pp, RL 4

  The Terrible Two is the first book in new series created by authors with serious pedigrees in kid's books and humor, Mac Barnett and Jory John and perfectly, illustrated by self-proclaimed "mediocre illustrator and humorist," Kevin Cornell. As a parent, bookseller, composer of personalized book lists and librarian, I get asked for funny books all the time. Unfortunately, writing (good)

0 Comments on The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John, illustrated by Kevin Cornell, 224 pp, RL 4 as of 1/12/2015 3:50:00 AM
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7.

An  illustration for Illustration Friday’s word prompt, “Stretch”. These guys are playing some sort snowman’s version of Badminton, me thinks.

0 Comments on as of 12/5/2012 2:21:00 PM
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8. Whoever Heard of a Fird? by Othello Bach

5 stars Whoever Heard Of A Fird? Othello Bach Shann Hurst 60 Pages     Ages: 7+ ………….. Back Cover: If you haven’t heard of a fird, part fish, part bird, you don’t know that he’s looking for a head of fird. He wants to find out if he’s “firding” right. You see, Fird was raised by [...]

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9. Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made, by Stephan Pastis, 294 pp, RL 4

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - TIMMY FAILURE MISTAKES WERE MADE -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> Let's just get this 1,500 lb polar bear in the room out of the way right now: Yes. Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis does

1 Comments on Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made, by Stephan Pastis, 294 pp, RL 4, last added: 2/27/2013
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10. Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It, written by Gail Carson Levine with illustrations by Matthew Cordell, RL 2

Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It:  False Apology Poems, written by Gail Carson Levine and brilliantly illustrated by the very busy Matthew Cordell, is, as you may surmise, inspired by William Carlos William's poem "This Is Just to Say." What Levine brings to this collection is her considerable knowledge of fairy tales and a gleefully wicked sense of humor. Every poem in the book it titled, "This

0 Comments on Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It, written by Gail Carson Levine with illustrations by Matthew Cordell, RL 2 as of 4/24/2013 4:20:00 AM
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11. Missing You

cartoon zombie Lou Simeone

I'm just not myself... without you

Lou Simeone

website | facebook | blog

0 Comments on Missing You as of 5/4/2013 12:55:00 PM
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12. The Hero's Guide to Saving the Kingdom by Christopher Healy, 432 pp, RL 4

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is out in paperback and The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle is out now! The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy is a book that has caused me to do some serious thinking about what makes a book worth reading, the (sometimes unfortunate and unhelpful) perspective an adult reader can bring to children's literature and the value

1 Comments on The Hero's Guide to Saving the Kingdom by Christopher Healy, 432 pp, RL 4, last added: 6/18/2013
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13. The Willoughbys written an dillustrated by Lois Lowry 157pp RL3

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry is in paperback! For me and other adult readers of children's books, The Willoughbys is a tasty little treat. For young readers, I am not sure what they will make of it. And it matters to me what they will make of it. The Willoughbys is, from start to finish, a playful joke, a parody that pokes fun at "old fashioned" children's stories while at the same

3 Comments on The Willoughbys written an dillustrated by Lois Lowry 157pp RL3, last added: 6/27/2013
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14. The True Meaning of Smekday, written and illustrated by Adam Rex, 432 pp RL 5

Adam Rex's debut novel has been a family favorite since we first read it in 2007. Most recently, we listened to the excellent audio version with our 8 year old and my 20 year took the book and audio version to college with her. Coming from Dreamworks in 2014, the movie version of The True Meaning of Smekday, retitled HOME (click here for details) which will star Rihanna and Jim Parsons as Tip

2 Comments on The True Meaning of Smekday, written and illustrated by Adam Rex, 432 pp RL 5, last added: 7/26/2013
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15. Photoshop Work / Experiment in Progress

I alway enjoy looking at favorite artist's work process. It's been a while since I posted one. Since I'm in the middle of experimenting with my Photoshop skills, I thought this would be a good time to do so again.
Below is a recent sketch of mine, that I'm currently in the middle of coloring...



I've long admired picture book illustrators whose style has a soft almost painterly look. Being primarily a vector artist, which I also love, I haven't really developed that soft look that I really admire. This is the year that I decided to really develop that look more. I doubt that I'll switch over to that look permanently, especially since it will take a while for me to develop it to the point that I'm happy with it.


Here's step two... I'm not even sure if I'm staying with these colors. I'm just trying to fill in blocks of color and try to see what I like and what I don't. Two big key changes to the way I'm working with this are, 1) use textures when I paint, and 2) painting on a "multiply" layer. The concepts aren't new to me, I've just never used them before. I like the effect and technique, I just don't know if I'm happy with the result yet.

You know what just occured to me ? This is supposed to be a polar bear.. white dummy... arghh..

My next post will sure the next, maybe next few, evolutions of this pc.

Thanks.. as always, thoughts and comments are appreciated.

Marty

2 Comments on Photoshop Work / Experiment in Progress, last added: 2/2/2012
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16. Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It, written by Gail Carson Levine with illustrations by Matthew Cordell, RL 2

Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It:  False Apology Poems, written by Gail Carson Levine and brilliantly illustrated by the very busy Matthew Cordell, is, as you may surmise, inspired by William Carlos William's poem "This Is Just to Say." What Levine brings to this collection is her considerable knowledge of fairy tales and a gleefully wicked sense of humor. Every poem in the book it titled, "This Is

0 Comments on Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It, written by Gail Carson Levine with illustrations by Matthew Cordell, RL 2 as of 4/1/2012 1:48:00 AM
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17. Fake Mustache, written by Tom Angleberger and illustrated by Jen Wang, 196 pp, RL 3

Tom Angleberger has to be the greatest author to come along in a while when it comes to writing books for kids who just don't want to tackle the 400 page fantasy novels that have been so popular for the last decade or more. His books The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda and the sequel, Darth Paper Strikes Back are excellent alternatives to Diary of a Wimpy Kid for those of you who don't want

0 Comments on Fake Mustache, written by Tom Angleberger and illustrated by Jen Wang, 196 pp, RL 3 as of 1/1/1900
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18. The Hero's Guide to Saving the Kingdom by Christopher Healy, 432 pp, RL 4

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy is a book that has caused me to do some serious thinking about what makes a book worth reading, the (sometimes unfortunate and unhelpful) perspective an adult reader can bring to children's literature and the value of doing something new that might feel old. I'll admit it - I was skeptical about this book at first. The title, the

0 Comments on The Hero's Guide to Saving the Kingdom by Christopher Healy, 432 pp, RL 4 as of 1/1/1900
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19. Nice celebratory pose, Ma'am





I'm aware it's late.  Too busy :( Sorry Ma'am, no disrespect.  Well, no more intended than when I drew you in this pose.


I'm off to Poole next week to spend a week with the beautiful team behind designing the gift boxes at LUSH, which I am tres TRES excited about!  I've been lucky enough to have been working freelance with them for a little while now, so it'll be lovely to finally meet everyone!  Also, the train journey is immense, so that will give me a nice chunk of time to get up to date on some other work too, or possibly I will just doodle. 

Update on the work/doodle debate, next week.


xxx

0 Comments on Nice celebratory pose, Ma'am as of 1/1/1900
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20. you heard them: no....

Spoilers

 

Highly Appropriate & Funny Comic Convention Information Signs

From Laughing Squid.

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21. The Fourth Stall, by Chris Rylander 314 pp, RL 4

The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander came out in February of 2011, right about the same time Jack Ferraiolo's book The Big Splash came out in paperback. These books have some similarities - middle school, fixers, intrigue. They also share the distinction of being the rare middle grade novels that are reality based, humorous and aimed squarely at boys. And they are both very well written. Do you

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22. and you thought the Olympics were over! NAAAAAH

Hey there, hoopla, daughter's circus is in town again. It's that fringey time of year...

Olympik Phever posterI have enjoyed all of Maddy's posters so far, but I really love the retro look of this one, designed by Rena Littleson.

Facebook has the details.

Fringe has the tickets.

Be there quickly, as the venue is cosy 

Olympik Phever is performed by Madeleine Tucker, and was developed by Madeleine Tucker and Danny Cisco: 

It's the middle of the Olympics and bespangled entertainer Madeleine Tucker has been given her big chance to shine, filling in as the presenter for a late night Olympics TV special. With interviews, live ads and musical numbers, she’s set to cram in as much high-quality entertainment as she can!

Not one for sports fans, this colourfully kitsch extravaganza will pay surreal homage to the faded world of variety television, with catchy songs and segments galore!


TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW now NOWW noooowww
 

If you can't make it to the show, you might like to take in some of Maddy's videos at her blog. (Look for Rodney The Goblin.) 

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23. Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by Dan Santat, 184 pp RL 3

Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies is now in paperback!! Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by Dan Santat (author and illustrator images at left - you can't tell, but Andrea's eyes are all swirly and hypnotized, and, yes, that fanged bunny is Dan)is a comic book-horror show mash up, a little bit like if Goosebumps, Mystery Science Theater and Captain Underpants got

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24. Bananas in My Ears: A Collection of Nonsense Stories, Poems, Riddles & Rhymes by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Quentin Blake, 79 pp, RL 3

Do  you have a collection of children's poetry and stories in your home right now? I'll wager you don't. Oh sure, you have Where the Sidewalk Ends and maybe a fairy tale collection or two, but that's not quite the same. Every house needs a book like Bananas in My Ears: A Collection of Nonsense Stories, Poems, Riddles and Rhymes by Michael Rosen (We're Going on a Bear Hunt, among others) and

0 Comments on Bananas in My Ears: A Collection of Nonsense Stories, Poems, Riddles & Rhymes by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Quentin Blake, 79 pp, RL 3 as of 9/22/2012 3:58:00 AM
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25. Sugar, sugar - Olympik Phever shaking it for another week at the Fringe

If you want to find out what THAT's all about - well, in other words, Madeleine Tucker's show Olympik Phever has been extended for a week at Son Of Loft, Lithuanian Club, North Melbourne (just around the corner from the North Melbourne Town Hall).

The show features sports of sorts, songs, videos, and yet another ridiculous costume, to which my pimping today carries a clue. To tell you any more would be a total spoiler. But I cannot get the accompanying song out of my head today, mainly because I've been singing it to my nieces while their mum and dad went along to chuckle.

Well done, team (Maddy, Danny, Rena, Sarah). Go you good things.

Tickets available here.  And yes, still a cosy venue.

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