Title: Maddy Yip’s Guide to Life
Author: Sue Cheung
Illustrator: Sue Cheung
Publisher: Andersen Press
Genre: Older children’s/middle grade fiction, Humour
Book format: Paperback
Sweet Strawberries:  Sweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet Strawberry

Description:  My name is Maddy Yip.
I live with my two annoying brothers, mum, dad and Agung (my Chinese grandad).  My BEZZIE, Dev, lives two doors down.
GUESS WHAT?  Everyone has a talent except for ME!
So now I’m going to find my life’s calling – even if it means rubbish recorder-playing, bad breakdancing, worse baking, and losing the school guinea pig along the way.
Surely I’m good at something other than ARMPIT FARTS?

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review: This is a fun story, with a great ending and with some very silly things happening along the way.  Maddy Yip’s family all have a talent, and they all have trophies and things to show off their talents in a cabinet.  While forced to help tidy up the house  Maddy sees the cabinet and looks inside.  When seeing all of her family’s trophies she soon realises that she’s the only one in her family without a talent, but she’s determined to find out what her talent is, no matter what.  Enlisting the help of her best friend Dev, the two of them try hard to find out just what exactly Maddy is talented at, which leads to some very silly and funny situations along the way, also including her pet cat, her brother’s hamster, and her slightly strange grandad Agung.

Maddy Yip's Guide to Life book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

I liked this book from the start and the story was good with Maddy’s family situation being interesting from the start.  Maddy comes from a big family with her older brother annoying her and her younger one being difficult to share a bedroom with.  While trying to discover her talent, she gets into lots of mishaps with a grouchy neighbour, a school bully and even some evil twins who need babysitting!  I like how simple and easy it was to read this story from the start.  Maddy’s character is easy to like and I did enjoy how she felt utterly talentless among her family.

The things she goes through and the lovely and fun friendship she has with Dev is good to see and I like all the silly things that happen to her during her quest to discover her own talent.  She tries to do many different things along the way but ultimately her talent seems to be something that is discovered by accident.  I did enjoy reading this book and found the characters and mishaps with all the animals funny from the start.

Maddy Yip's Guide to Life book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

I enjoyed how Maddy’s Chinese speaking grandfather made some of the situations funnier although this is largely the only thing that sets this book culturally apart from being any other kids story.  I have read the author’s work for teens before called ‘Chinglish’ which I did enjoy as there were some funny references to growing up with a Chinese family in Britain, and the differences of that culturally, but this book, although being aimed at probably having the same impact culturally doesn’t have anything else special about the Chinese aspect other than the silly things her grandad does or says.

The pictures are really good and spread throughout the pages with lots of funny images really capturing some of the silly moments that happened.  I did enjoy the silliness of what happened especially with the cat and hamster in some scenes and I like how expressive all of the characters are.  The more I read this book the more I enjoyed  it and although I did find it funny and it had a good an satisfying ending with more future adventures of Maddy hinted at, I just didn’t find myself enjoying this as much as I had hoped.  Some of the funny sentences or phrases just didn’t work for me and in the end I just didn’t find this as funny as some people might, which is a shame.

Maddy Yip's Guide to Life book page image three
©The Strawberry Post

Overall this is a good story though and funny if you like the silly things that happen to Maddy and the sense of humour of the author.  The illustrations are brilliant and are the best part of the book, and I do like this introduction to Maddy’s character and life, and what happens to her in general.  But it just wasn’t as funny for me as other similar books aimed at children, which mix text and pictures, and I just don’t know why it didn’t interest me or compel me to read it in quite the way some books do.

What do you think of this book?  Do you like books with pictures or a lot of humour in them?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂