Tiny Twisted Tales by Calvin Innes

This series of three little books are dark and funny, with equally dark and funny illustrations. Each book is a single poem, which is great to read out loud. I always think poetry, especially funny poetry, is made to be read out loud rather than in your head.

I shared Jenny with my nearly 7 year old daughter, but she didn’t like it. I thought as it was about a girl she might like it, but my daughter doesn’t like books which are dark, even if they are funny. Although he is older than the target audience, my 11 year old read all of them and enjoyed them. My 9 year old read both Jenny and Pale Henry. He quite enjoyed them, but said he ‘didn’t see the point of them’ because it’s ‘just one poem, they should have more than one poem in a book’.

I get the point of them though. These books are great for reluctant readers or slow learners. They are of interest to children, particularly boys, aged around 7 or 8, but they are easy to read. So if you have a boy of that age who isn’t ready for a chapter book, either as a slow learner or because he isn’t keen on reading, these books are the perfect way to get him started. They take about as long to read as a children’s picture book, but no self-respecting 8 year old boy is going to want The Gruffalo on his shelf!


Jenny is an unusual and rather brave 8 year old girl who doesn’t like girly things. At the start of the book you think she is scared and being attacked, but she isn’t. Because Jenny is a werewolf hunter!

Two years now,
she had been hunting them down.
Every night,
a new city or town.
And wherever she went,
the story was the same.
Big and mean,
but with very small brains.

Pale Henry

Henry is a reclusive boy who hides out in his room and doesn’t dare go outside, although he wants to. Eventually he faces his fears and leaves his dusty room and goes out to play.

With his sheets pulled tightly,
up under his chin,
(That was terribly white,
and terribly thin)
His pale blue eyes
would peer out and see,
the children outside…
‘I wish it was me!’

Stuart the bug eating man

This is my personal favourite of the three books and reminds me of Roald Dahl’s gruesome poetry. Stuart is a man who spends all his time digging for bugs to eat. He hasn’t got a job or an education, but one day he comes up with an idea which makes his family’s fortune.

‘A fool maybe’ said Stuart
to himself,
‘But a fool with talent,
like noboday else’.
‘How many people do you know,
do tell me please,
That like eating flies and
hornets & bees.
That can eat a handful of
tarantulas, without being hurt,
or can eat a whole wasp nest,
and come back for dessert?’

I was disappointed to find typos in the books. There is never an excuse for typos in any book, least of all such short books.

I was sent the three books by My Little Big Town publishers for the purposes of this review. The opinions are my own and I have received no payment for this review.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. I love the illustrations at a glance – shame about the typos though! Particularly when they’re for children.

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  2. The illustrations are great and they are generally funny books, but the typo thing is poor. Hope they get it sorted when/ if they do the next print run. Thanks very much for commenting 🙂

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