Friday 5 April 2013

Spotlight on Writing: My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O'Hara

Mo at the Launch Party for My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish
Mo O'Hara’s début novel My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish brings parody to children’s literature the likes of which its readers (5-9 year olds) have been weaned on to through the medium of film, including Shrek (too many parodies to mention), Cars 2 (Bond) and Toy Story 2 (Star Wars). Here, Mo puts parody to extraordinary use, appealing to both parents and children. The book is fast-paced and very funny and is almost a parody of parody with a sense of humour not dissimilar to Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in Shaun of The Dead and Paul, but here, a focus on young readers remains throughout. 

The main characters, Tom and his friend Pradeep, are downtrodden and slight nerdy and yet thwart all plans made by their evil scientist and evil computer genius big brothers using secret made-up codes, their code for danger being colour matched to the taste of jellybeans. The humour is both gentle and childlike, like the jellybean code, and more adult-focused, like a Star Wars joke that will make most adults howl with laughter. Mo adopts tricks like recurring jokes, and phrases that will stick in your head and make children giggle before the sentence is even read, like ‘Swishy Little Fishy’ and the centipedes dancing in Tom’s stomach. 

Mo, whilst combining witty writing with a thrilling tale, has also managed to land My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish with serendipitous timing: Teen literature and films are stuffed full of Zombies. One thing children aspire to is to be able to enjoy the same things as their older teenage brothers and sisters. In the 80’s when older siblings were watching ‘The Lost Boys’ and reading Anne Rice’s vampire novels, their younger brothers and sisters were reading The Little Vampire by  Angela Sommer-Bodenburg. In the 90’s it was Buffy and Mona.  With My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish, Mo has written a book that is suitable for much younger readers, bringing zombies to ‘life’ in a safe and funny form for children.

Mo’s unique approach to writing for children, using parody, suffocated humour and a fin-on-the-pulse of current trends makes My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish  a fast and witty read for both children and adults. 

Don't forget to enter our competition to win a signed copy of My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish! If you want to enter, just email us at with your name, address and the title of the book in the subject line. The winner will be chosen at random on Saturday 13th April.

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