I came across Mr Gum back in May last year, in a fabulous list about Roald Dahl's enduring influence, a list created by Andy Griffiths.
OK, his books aren't published in Australia, but I can't leave him off this list. Here are the first lines of his Roald Dahl Funny Prize-winning first book: "Mr Gum was a fierce old man with a red beard and two bloodshot eyes that stared out at you like an octopus curled up in a bad cave. He was a complete horror who hated children, animals, fun and corn on the cob. What he liked was snoozing in bed all day, being lonely and scowling at things."Who could resist that? I liked the cover, so ordered it online straight away, and then got to reading it recently.
There was broken glass in the windows and the ancient carpet was the colour of unhappiness and smelt like a toilet.
I loved the wonderful smeary pages making the book like it had just been removed from Mr Gum's house.