“Once in a great while I get a little bored with the usual children’s book tropes. Another new kid in school who meets a seeming outcast and bonds with them? Whoopie. A foster kid who seems prickly but has a heart of gold? Woo. Two boys in swinging 1960s London defeating a rabbit-obsessed villain intent on making people’s pants fall down? I . . . . wait, what? Back up a bit. What was that? You see, once in a great while I forget about being bored with the usual children’s book tropes when I find myself walloped upside the head something as original as Stephen Swinburne’s Wiff and Dirty George, particularly the first installment, The Z.E.B.R.A. Incident. If weird is good (and it certainly can be) then it is fair to say that Wiff and Dirty George are doggone great.”
—Elizabeth Bird, Children’s librarian at the Children’s Center at 42nd Street of the New York Public Library system
Two raffish lads pitch in to save the Queen from a mad inventor in this Monty Python–esque farce. After happening upon a vaguely threatening letter, rope-and-knot–loving orphan Wiff drags his best mate, dirt-eating Dirty George, from London to Brighton in search of a certain previously unknown Great Uncle Basil. The two are instantly imprisoned in Basil’s underground lab, where thugs and mad scientists dressed in rabbit suits hop about, and pants are likely to drop unexpectedly thanks to a small device dubbed the “Zipper Extraction Button Removal Atom-Smasher.” Here they learn that Basil, an ex-spy gone totally bonkers, is out to replace the Queen with a double during the festive Bangers and Mash Day celebration at Kew Gardens. Even with help from Basil’s na™ve but
astoundingly capable ward Daphne, can the boys Save Britain? Replete with captures, escapes, chases, bizarre inventions and general tomfoolery, the antic tale will keep readers on both sides of the pond entertained. Instructions for several knots and a glossary of Britspeak appended.
“What fun to spend time in the world of Wiff and Dirty
George! Set in the 1960s, the story has a retro feel to it, almost
trippy, with men dressed in rabbit suits, quirky characters,
glass-bubble prisons, and Tom Swift technology.”
—Karen Hesse, Newbery Award winner
“Like jumping down the rabbit hole, complete with mad
scientists, a princess, and a crazy mastermind, not to mention
rabbits. The fate of the Queen and all of England is in the
hands of two unlikely heroes, Wiff and Dirty George, and
their three-foot-long Madagascan worm. Buckle up and turn
—Kathi Appelt, Newbery Honor Award winner
and National Book Award finalist
“The adventures of Wiff and Dirty George are like a
—Dan Gutman, author of Honus & Me and My Weird School series
Blimey! It’s the Zipper Extraction Button Removal Atom-Smasher! Something bizarre is happening on a train pulling into London’s Paddington Station. A weird gravitational force has taken control of the passengers, causing zippers to unzip, buckles to unbuckle, and trousers to fall down, revealing more polkadotted underwear than ever imagined. Among the victims are best friends Wiff and Dirty George.
When a man disguised as a rabbit snaps a photo of the mayhem and jumps from the passenger car, Wiff and Dirty George give chase. Little do they know that they are about to battle the notorious Basil King, a criminal genius and master of disguise bent on taking over Great Britain. Soon the lads are prisoners in Basil’s laboratory of crime, run by rabbit-suited thugs and mad scientists. Meanwhile, the Queen and all of England are preparing to celebrate National Bangers and Mash Day—perhaps for the last time.
Wiff and Dirty George were two lads larking about London. Now they are swept up in one of the most dastardly plots ever unleashed on England, and it’s up to them to stop it. Set in the Beatlemania 1960s, Stephen R. Swinburne’s smashing adventure is super fab.
Out of the darkness above, the boys watched two giant glass eggs, as large as hot-air balloons, slowly descend on steel cables. “Crikey, Wiff, what in blue blazes?” The Bubbles touched down on a rubber pad in the center of the wooden platform. “Behold the Bubbles, my little darlings!” exclaimed Basil over the chamber’s loudspeaker. “One ton of polished glass, four inches thick, waterproof, fireproof, energy efficient, self-sustaining, climate-controlled with all the amenities of home. You should be cozy, boys. But we made them out of glass so . . .” Basil handed the microphone to Daphne. “We can watch you like you were bugs!”
—FROM THE BOOK