The sixth book about Uncle, the millionaire elephant who has a B.A. degree, begins with the Badgertown police seizing the belongings of Beaver Hateman, Uncle’s enemy, because he has refused to pay his rates. And it ends with a tremendous fight, using egg bombs and duck bombs, between the Hateman gang and Uncle’s supporters for possession of the Town Hall, and for the Great Mace, chief treasure of Badgertown.
With the help of a new follower, the dog Brass – who has a bark that makes the ears tingle – Uncle continues the exploration of the great castle of Homeward. He opens the baffling Closed Gallery, discovers the fabulous Jewel Room and visits Mrs Witch, who is threatening the trade of Wizard Blenkinsop.
The most hilarious adventures come at Christmas ( the time of year that the author, the late J.P. Martin, loved best) when Uncle goes shopping and attends Dr Lyre’s end-of-term party at the Academy. There is a sing-song round a Christmas tree so big that the guests can climb up into it to get their presents. Of course there is a mysterious gate-crasher hiding in the topmost branches. Who?
"A riot of nonsense and adventure, may well become a classic in the great English nonsense tradition"
"Joyously surreal, set in landscapes full of toffee, deferential choirs of badgers, heavenly water-slides and velvet chairs . . . Their pachydermous protagonist governs a benevolent plutocracy- but the books' great joy is the frequent sly and subtle lampooning of his capitalist pomp"
"The books are very funny, installing a large cast of unlikely characters . . . in a world of mildly squiffy logic . . . And the illustrations are among Quentin Blake’s best work, scrawls and splotches that finally and unarguably distil character. But most important, this is political satire of a high order — Animal Farm for pre-teens, but wittier and more relevant to our own world"
"Few books are laugh-out-loud funny; fewer still are the children's books that have you stifling titters on the train . . . Uncle is a brilliantly sustained exercise in nonsense, played with the straightest of faces"
"You ask any class "Who's heard of Alice in Wonderland" and up goes a forest of hands. Uncle is on the same level and should be more widely read and enjoyed"