It was the birthday of the awesome Dr Seuss yesterday – so as a way of marking the anniversary of such a remarkable writer who has turned so many youngsters into readers, I decided to review this affectionate parody by my writing buddy Geoff.
The Twat is the Flat is an anarchic reimagining of Dr Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat, deploying an alternative narrative to create an uproarious illustrated book for adults. Part parody, part homage, The Twat in the Flat has all the offbeat humour of the original, but you will probably not be reading it to your children at bedtime!
That’s the blurb, which doesn’t tell you all that much. But the story is about two depressed, broke young lodgers staying in because they are expecting the landlord to come calling for the rent – when they are visited by the idiot who lives upstairs, insisting on sharing his drugs and booze with them. Geoff has stuck to the rhythm and structure of The Cat in the Hat, which he says has only increased his admiration of Dr Seuss’s genius, as it took a lot of drafting and redrafting to keep to the limited vocabulary Dr Seuss was initially given.
Geoff aka The Speechpainter is an experienced performance poet who been gigging around southern England for the last twenty years, so the anarchy that the twat unleashes is ably handled in this amusing parody. My favourite character is the roach, who replaces the goldfish in The Cat in the Hat as he hops from the ashtray to the boot of the unwanted guest, imploring the two to get rid of him.
However, the original was not just about the poem – the illustrations were also part of the magic and Geoff has the great good fortune to know the gifted Annabel Munn, who provides the artwork for The Twat in the Flat. The pictures throughout are a joy and beautifully match up with Geoff’s punchy, amusing verse. I’m aware that as I have been involved in this project from its inception, I am not unbiased – but if you are looking for a book to put a smile on your face, then consider tracking this one down. It is a little gem.