Barry Loser Total Winner! / Dennis & Gnasher Attack of the Evil Veg

Barry Loser Total Winner!
Jim Smith

In this latest of the graphic novel series starring Jim Smith’s ‘keel’ character, Barry Loser is full of the joys of spring as he walks to school in the first episode at least. Therein too are all kinds of Barryish shenanigans concerning his ‘ex-best friends’ Bunky and Nancy’s joint party, resulting in Barry declaring loud and clear that he’ll never speak to either again. There are also a fair few arachnids of the biting kind involved.

The next episode sees Barry with a new bestie, Snozzy, behaving even more weirdly than ever. It involves a dog poo incident, a damaged facial feature and further sniggersome scenes.

Episode three takes us to the supermarket along with Barry and Bunky and Nancy to make it less boring. It’s certainly anything but that on account of some walkie talkies and a sudden epidemic of yawning. 

I’ll say no more on that topic and move swiftly on to the Granny’s handbag episode at the start of which Barry receives from said grandparent, a new and terrible toy – one that kind of comes and goes. 

In the final incident (or several) Barry oversteps the mark when it comes to the ‘twiddler’ leaf-blowing game; is asked to try mindfulness in class, which is not an overwhelming success at the time, there’s a temporarily distraught Dad, not forgetting the odd surprise. And, it’s interesting to see the new character in the shape of French Fries.

Masses of mayhem and mischief, cringe making moments, and lots of the rolling about kind of laughs are assured when individuals embark on this tenth anniversary offering. Perhaps they’ll even discover that Barry isn’t always such a loser.

Dennis & Gnasher Attack of the Evil Veg
I.P. Daley, Craig Graham, Mike Stirling, illustrated by Nigel Parkinson

Dennis’ pals have been bitten by the gardening bug and are now spending pretty much all their time at Beanotown’s allotments. Then comes an announcement from the town’s mayor: The Great Beanotown Grow Off and there’s to be a large money prize – a very large one – for the grower of the biggest, tastiest vegetable. No prizes though for guessing who has his eyes set on that: the problem is Dennis knows absolutely nothing about cultivating veggies. 

Dennis however, is not the only one intent on bagging the prize but he’s so desperate so to do that he visits Professor Von Screwtop who tells him of his own failed experiments when trying to make super-growth serums. “One day I’ll look into it again. Until that day, those three failed experiments will sit safely on that shelf by the door.”

No sooner has he uttered this than Dennis is out the door with them, endeavouring to make them work. They don’t, or rather he thinks they don’t until he returns to the allotments at night and sees a giant, evil veg (strictly speaking a fruit) destroying the place. The trouble is almost nobody believes his story and now Dennis is accused of being the culprit. Determined to prove his innocence, he embarks on a mission to do so. 

With a little assistance from Minnie and Gnasher, they’re determined to root out the army of mutant veggies before they take over the entire town.

Fast-moving silliness, full of jokes, with guest appearances from several Beano characters including Calamity James that will satisfy the comic lovers as well as lovers of chapter books of the zany kind. Don’t miss the fun facts, extra veggie jokes and further daftness at the end of the story.

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