Tom Fletcher Book Club: You’re a Bad Man Mr Gum! by Andy Stanton

Tom Fletcher Book Club: You’re a Bad Man Mr Gum! by Andy Stanton

Watch Tom’s Bedtime Story:

You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum by Andy Stanton

Mr Gum is a complete horror who hates children, animals, fun and corn on the cob. This book’s all about him. And an angry fairy who lives in his bathtub. And Jake the dog, and a little girl called Polly and an evil, stinky butcher all covered in guts. And there’s heroes and sweets and adventures and EVERYTHING.

Read Tom’s Review:

For those who like Roald Dahl.

This is another book that might be on my list of possible favourite ever books ever. As you kids would say I did a LOL many times throughout this book and it even inspired me to start writing my second novel (which is also really super brilliant!). The way the narrator speaks to the reader makes it so enjoyable to read with really short, punchy chapters. You’ll reach the end before you know it and want to start all over again.

Favourite quote:
Mr Gum had to keep the garden tidy because otherwise an angry fairy would appear in his bathtub and start whacking him with a frying pan. (You see, there’s always a simple explanation for things.)

PARENTS – here’s a great one for younger or reluctant readers.

Read an Extract from You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum:


The Garden of Mr Gum

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.

He slept and scowled and picked his nose and ate it. Most of the townsfolk of Lamonic Bibber avoided him and the children were terrified of him. Their mothers would say, ‘Go to bed when I tell you to or Mr Gum will come and shout at your toys and leave slime on your books!’ That usually did the trick.

Mr Gum lived in a great big house in the middle of town. Actually it wasn’t that great, because he had turned it into a disgusting pigsty.

The rooms were filled with junk and pizza boxes. Empty milk bottles lay around like wounded soldiers in a war against milk, and there were old newspapers from years and years ago with headlines like




Insects lived in the kitchen cupboards, not just small insects but great big ones with faces and names and jobs.

Mr Gum’s bedroom was absolutely grimsters. The wardrobe contained so much mould and old cheese that there was hardly any room for his moth-eaten clothes, and the bed was never made. (I don’t mean that the duvet was never put back on the bed, I mean the bed had never even been MADE. Mr Gum hadn’t gone to the bother of assembling it. He had just chucked all the bits of wood on the floor and dumped a mattress on top.) There was broken glass in the windows and the ancient carpet was the colour of unhappiness and smelt like a toilet. Anyway, I could be here all day going on about Mr Gum’s house but I think you’ve got the idea. Mr Gum was an absolute lazer who couldn’t be bothered with niceness and tidying and brushing his teeth, or anyone else’s teeth for that matter.

(and as you can see, it’s a big but) he was always extremely careful to keep his garden tidy. In fact, Mr Gum kept his garden so tidy that it was the prettiest, greeniest, floweriest, gardeniest garden in the whole of Lamonic Bibber. Here’s how amazing it was:

Think of a number
between one and ten.

Multiply that
number by five.

Add on three
hundred and fifty.

Take away eleven.

Throw all those
numbers away.

Now think of an
amazing garden.

Whatever number you started with, you should now be thinking of an amazing garden. And that’s how amazing Mr Gum’s garden was. In spring it was bursting with crocuses and daffodils. In summer there were roses, sunflowers, and those little blue ones, what are they called again? You know, those blue ones, they look a bit like dinosaurs – anyway, there were tons of them. In autumn the leaves from the big oak tree covered the lawn, turning it gold like a gigantic leafy robot. In winter, it was winter.

No one in town could understand how Mr Gum’s garden could be so pretty, greeny, flowery and gardeny when his house was such a filthy tip.

‘Maybe he just likes gardening,’ said Jonathan Ripples, the fattest man in town.

‘Perhaps he’s trying to win a garden contest,’ said a little girl called Peter.

‘I reckon he just quite likes gardening,’ said Martin Launderette, who ran the launderette.

‘Oy, that was my idea!’ said Jonathan Ripples.

‘No, it wasn’t,’ said Martin Launderette. ‘You can’t prove it, fatso.’

In fact, they were all wrong. The real reason was this: Mr Gum had to keep the garden tidy because otherwise an angry fairy would appear in his bathtub and start whacking him with a frying pan. (You see, there is always a simple explanation for things.) Mr Gum hated the fairy but he couldn’t work out how to get rid of it, so his only choice was to do the gardening or it was pan-whacks.

And so life went on in the peaceful town of Lamonic Bibber. Everyone got on with their business and Mr Gum snoozed the days away in his dirty house and did lots of gardening he didn’t want to do. And nothing much ever happened, and the sun went down over the mountains.

(Sorry, I nearly forgot. Something did happen once, that’s what this story’s about. I do apologise. Right, what was it?

Um . . .

Oh, of course! How could I be so stupid? It was that massive whopper of a dog. How on earth could I forget about him? Right, then.)

One day a massive whopper of a dog –

(Actually, I think we’d better have a new chapter. Sorry about all this, everyone.)

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