I have a pretty simple sense of humour. I like silliness and dad jokes. So, Harry Hill is someone I absolutely adore. His show TV Burp is still one of the greatest pieces of television that has ever been created. Despite this, I wasn’t been aware that he’d written a series of children’s books about a pre-teen stand-up comedian. I wouldn’t have been aware if I hadn’t needed to find a quick read on the library app. Yet again it was clear that I was never going to finish my current read in time. I need to get better at reading physical books again. I have so many to read.
I was excited by the idea of this book. Harry Hill is such a great comedian and I felt as though he’d be a great children’s writer. Especially when writing about stand-up comedy. The book introduces us to 12-year-old Matt who loves comedy and making people laugh. After taking part in his school’s talent show, Matt decides that he might have what it takes to be a comedian when he’s older. With the help of his new manager, Matt starts booking gigs and creating his set. Will he have what it takes to make it?
The story feels very true to Hill’s comedy persona. It’s pop culture heavy and full of silly puns. It’s also a great comedy resource. I thought the encyclopaedia-style entries about different comedians were a really fun addition to the story. This is exactly the kind of book that aspiring comedians would want to read and the fact that Hill offers recommendations of who to watch is great. Not only will it be a great source of inspiration for young comics but it also proves how much Harry Hill loves comedy. He offers tips for performing and encouragement for how to get by.
The story itself is pretty standard for a children’s book. It’s all quite basic and the story moves along at a fairly quick pace. I totally understand why that happens and it feels appropriate for the audience. The book also makes up for this by adding loads of extras. Obviously, the book is crammed full of jokes. Depending on your age and sense of humour, not all of these will land. However, there are so many of them that something probably will. And it’s a kid’s book, so it wasn’t like it was going to be edgy or subversive.
I think this is a pretty solid start to this book series. The characters are fun and it is a whimsical tale. We’re not quite in Roald Dahl territory but it’s got some classic themes. The teachers are all ridiculous and over-the-top. The kids are shrewd and quick-thinking. Matt Millz is a charming and enjoyable book that I can imagine children loving it.