Booklist and School Library Journal Reviews

A couple of positive US reviews in Booklist and School Library Journal for my book of short stories, My Life & Other Stuff I Made Up.

School Library Journal

Gr 3-6–Tom Weekly warns readers right up front: this book might be only partially true, but the important thing is that he’s the hero no matter what. His accounts of his daily life in these short stories are equal parts absurd and raucous, and sometimes a little gross. There are dog kisses on the mouth, granny fights, bloody magpie attacks, and even a toe that gets bitten clean off. It’s a laugh-out-loud look at a boy’s imagination with all of the bravado and cringe-worthy moments that readers might expect. The short, easy-to-read entries are punctuated with Tom’s drawings, making this a good choice for reluctant readers. Additionally, the hybrid format, a chapter book filled with cartoon illustrations, and the humorous take on one boy’s life, make it another pick for readers looking for Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Abrams, 2007) read-alikes.

BANCKS, Tristan. My Life & Other Stuff I Made Up. illus. by Gus Gordon. 194p. Random Australia, dist. by IPG.2012. pap. $9.99. ISBN 978-1-8647-1817-1.


A sort of Aussie tall-tale version of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2007), Bancks’ latest features stories with a high-level gross-out factor. Narrated by young Tom Weekly, they follow his life as a son, friend, and student, though the most notable story has to be “My Nan’s Tougher,” in which Tom’s grandmother fights his best friend’s grandmother. Yes, the vignette about eating 67 hot dogs in 10 minutes with the help of a substance containing cat vomit is wonderfully stomach churning, but nothing tops the moment when Nan’s colostomy bag explodes all over her elderly foe. Gordon’s cartoon illustrations match the absurdities of these stories, which occasionally step into supernatural territory (a brief visit from a dead grandfather, a day when all objects hover inches or feet above the ground) but are mostly based in humdrum reality. A good choice for kids drawn to the upside down and out-and-out disgusting, and they will also learn a bit about Australian culture along the way.

Bancks, Tristan (Author) , Gordon, Gus (Illustrator)

Apr 2012. 208 p. IPG/Trafalgar Square, paperback, $9.99. (9781864718171).



  1. Raph
    May 31, 2012 / 1:00 am

    Hi Tristan
    I'm home today because I'm really tired after camp. I'm using story scrapbook for my Maggot Mania story. How was swinging in the Chapel? Were you freaked out about how it felt like you were going to fall?from Raph

  2. June 1, 2012 / 5:18 am

    Hey Raph. That's great that you're using Story Scrapbook. Love to hear what you like about it and what you think could be improved for the next version. Shareability is something that I think users seem to want more of. The ability to share a Scrapbook as an interactive file. Swinging in the chapel was the best. I think I was more exhilarated than scared. I have a video of it. Will let you know on this comment thread if I put it up sometime. Hope you liked the camp. 😉 T

  3. Raph
    June 2, 2012 / 1:50 am

    Hi Tristan
    Story Scrapbook is really good. I like that it is really simple and that I can just grab pictures online or from my cartoons and stick them on. I like putting music up that suits the characters too. I still haven't worked out what the drag to find action target button does. It is tricky to cut out my cartoons with the free hand mask tool. Otherwise I think it's really good. I'll try and send you some of my pages. Have you or your kids ever made an animation on a DSI? I've been making them for a few years now. Here's a link to one I've made for an eco competition. It's called "Turtle" I hope you like it, it sounds and looks like a kid made it but I am a kid!Hahahahahahhahahahahahhahahah from Raph

  4. Anonymous
    June 2, 2012 / 1:54 am

    Oh yeah something else as well. When you get a picture from your picture library it comes out really big on the screen and it's a bit of a pain to make it smaller.
    I'm glad you weren't scared Swinging in the Chapel it was the best fun ever. I'd love to see it on video!!!!from raph

  5. June 4, 2012 / 3:39 am

    Thanks Raph. This is great feedback. Will pass on to Ben, the talented developer / programmer behind the app. Appreciate the thoughts re: action target button and freehand cutout tools, as well as the picture size issue.
    I haven't made anything on the DSI but I really like your turtle film. When the turtle smiles it looks like you!

  6. Anonymous
    July 25, 2012 / 8:44 am

    Is Tom Weekly an alias? I'm confused because the only part that says Tristan banks made it is the front cover. Is Tom a made up character? I started reading it and it seems very funny and I like it. I don't like books in form you did but the humor and all made me enjoy it. Have you always wanted to write? Did this book take long to write? All in all, it is a great book.

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