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Review & Guest Post: Gribblebob’s Book of Unpleasant Goblins

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Today we feature Gribblebob’s Book of Unpleasant Goblins, a laugh-out-loud story filled with mystery, fantasy, goblins and nightmares! Read on for a review of the book and a special guest post by author David Ashby about the many jobs he had before becoming a writer.


Book Title: Gribblebob’s Book of Unpleasant Goblins (available here)

Author: David Ashby

Illustrator: Jen Khatun

Publisher: Pushkin Children’s

Publication Date: March 2019

Most Suitable for: Year 5/6

Reviewed By: Daisy Rizo, Year 6 Teacher & Key Stage 2 Phase Leader



A book filled with mystery, fantasy, goblins and nightmares, Gribblebob’s Book of Unpleasant Goblins draws the reader in from the very first page, mixing realism with weirdly wonderful characters and intrigue.


A quick read, the story dives straight into the plot, cleverly weaving two narratives: one from our human world and one from ‘beyond the veil’ – a world where goblins roam, fairies frolic and dragon poo fills the streets.


In the opening chapter, we are introduced to Anna and her younger brother, Nils, who stumble upon a strange-looking man – Gribblebob himself – with an even stranger-looking invisible dog, leading them to an afternoon of adventure between two worlds.


As Anna and her brother investigate the strange goings-on in their quiet village in Sussex, the narrative flits between the story of Bengt Arbuthnot (a boy who longs for a heroic name), William Wynn and a man named Jack Broadsword whose life intertwines with that of Bengt.


As the story unfolds, we adventure with our new humorous and curious characters; scramble up climbing frames to jump into new worlds; pop to the nearby tea shop for tea and biscuits (much to the dismay of poor Mr. McCurdey); battle through the horrors of rip-riders, finally meeting our villain whose intent is to plague both worlds with nightmares.


At just 216 pages, the story is fast-paced and can be read in just one sitting, keeping even the most reluctant of readers guessing and wanting to read more.


Gribblebob’s Book of Unpleasant Goblins is a fantastic story for Upper Key Stage 2 – to be read either as a read-aloud or to be recommended as a reading book for children who are fans of adventure and fantasy.


Featuring numerous laugh-out-loud moments (with particular thanks to Gribblebob’s variation on the English language and its idioms), it’s a brilliant debut from Swedish author, David Ashby.


Curriculum Links: English – fairytales, problem stories, portal stories.


You can order Gribblebob’s Book of Unpleasant Goblins online or from your local bookshop or library.


Guest Post

by David Ashby, author of Gribblebob’s Book of Unpleasant Goblins


I have two CVs.


I have the slick, smooth CV that echoes my listing on Linkedin, and then I have my real CV, the dirty CV. The one that shows the real me.


It’s not pretty reading. A year at the Inland Revenue in Worthing. Six months at British Telecom in Milton Keynes. Two days at Dan Air at Gatwick Airport. Almost a week at EW Reinsurance up in London. An afternoon at Little Chef in Bolney. A car sales job at Seaford that I never actually started. Two hours as a ninja assassin in Basingstoke.


Okay, maybe not all of those are true (there’s no Little Chef in Bolney), but I think it makes the point that I never really knew what I wanted to do. Plus, I have a low tolerance for boredom and I have ideas above my station.


The one constant has been that I have always loved writing. Sitting with a paper and pen, or at a typewriter, or a Word Processor or, as now, a PC and just letting what’s inside me tumble out has always energised me, relaxed me, given me something. I like words. I like how they hang together, how you can make them work for you, how you can make people laugh, cry, touch them. How you can make them angry (my resignation letter to the Ministry of Defence in London really hit a nerve) or make them do things that you want.


When I was younger I was often shy and lonely, and words helped me. Perhaps I didn’t have many friends, but I always had that blank sheet of paper that let me breathe, that let me be me.

So, I have always written. Poems, short stories, music articles, letters, long emails, culture articles, all sorts of things. I was even the editor of “Worthing Homes” a newsletter for tenants of a social housing company, and I enjoyed writing up interviews I had done, stories about tenants and staff and amusing cats (this was before Twitter and Facebook). People always used to tell me, “This is good, you should get this published,” and I wanted to believe it, but a part of me thought it was just me getting ideas above my station again.


When I got to my 50s though, and found I had two young children who liked hearing the odd and funny stories that I made up, it somehow felt time to really try and do something with all those words, for them, mainly, so they would have something of me. I started writing the story that I had begun telling them on the way home from the shops one day, all about the rude goblin with the invisible dog, and I would read it to them each night, and they would give me feedback about what they liked and what they didn’t and what might happen next. And it was in Gribblebob that all my words found a home. I guess it was just time.


So now I can update my CV and add in “author”. I’m most definitely above my station now.




You can order Gribblebob’s Book of Unpleasant Goblins online or from your local bookshop or library.


Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Daisy for reviewing the book.


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