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Terry Denton

Story Maze (Series, Book 4): The Golden Udder

YEAR: 2002

COUNTRY: Australia

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Title of the work

Story Maze (Series, Book 4): The Golden Udder

Country of the First Edition

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

2002

First Edition Details

Terry Denton, Story Maze 4: The Golden Udder. Sydney: Allen & Unwin Children's Books: Allen & Unwin, 2002, 114 pp.

ISBN

9781865087849

Genre

Action and adventure comics
Comics (Graphic works)
Fantasy fiction
Fiction
Fractured fairytales*
Humor
Illustrated works

Target Audience

Children

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Lynnette Lounsbury: Avondale College of Higher Education and The University of New England, lynnette.lounsbury@avondale.edu.au 

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, ehale@une.edu.au

Daniel Nkemleke, Universite de Yaounde 1, nkemlekedan@yahoo.com

Male portrait

Terry Denton , b. 1950
(Author)

Born the youngest of five boys in Melbourne, Australia, Terry Denton loved art from a young age and drew constantly in his spare time. He studied architecture at Melbourne University, was a comedic theatre actor and regularly created cartoons for the University newspapers. After University he spent time on his art working in animation, painting, etching, sculpture, cartooning and shop window design. In 1984 he wrote and illustrated Felix and Alexander which was published in 1985 and won the Australian Children’s Book Council Picture Book of the Year in 1986. Since then he has written and/or illustrated more than 100 books, including the Gasp! books and TV series, the Wombat and Fox books, and the Bumper Books (1, 2 and 3). He began collaborating with Australian writer Andy Griffiths in 1997 and they developed the Just! series, followed by The Cat on the Mat is Flat, The Bad Books and more recently the hugely successful children’s comedy series The Treehouse books-13, 26, 39, 52, 65 and 78. He has won more than fifteen children’s choice awards throughout Australia and another 40 more with Andy Griffiths. These include the Australian awards – The Multicultural Book of the Year, Best Designed Picture Book, Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Award 2014 and The Australia Book Industry Association Book of the Year for older readers in both 2012, 2013 and 2015.

In 1991 he worked for the Australian Children’s Television Foundation on the TV show Lift-Off, spending two years planning the program and designing the puppets.  Terry does many school visits throughout the year holding both writing and artistic workshops. He is also a fine artist and has held several exhibitions in Melbourne.


Sources:

Official website (accessed: July 3, 2018).

Morriss, Maureen. Highlights of the 1995 Children's Book of the Year shortlist [Book Review] [online]. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, The, Vol. 18, No. 3, Aug 1995: 219-227. 

Winner of the 2015 ABIA book of the year [online]. Incite, Vol. 36, No. 6/7, Jun/Jul 2015: 12-13. 

Profile at the thelitcentre.org.au (accessed: March 3, 2018).


Bio prepared by Lynnette Lounsbury, Avondale College of Higher Education and The University of New England, lynnette.lounsbury@avondale.edu.au


Summary

The fourth in the Storymaze series follows the surfing adventures of Nico, Claudia and Mikey through parallel worlds and across the universe. This time they continue their attempt to help Ulysses to win the Queen of Fresia with The Golden Udder. However, when they attempt to retrieve the Udder, they discover it has been stolen by Amycus (along with Nico’s surfboard) and lost in a bet to Limousin, a surfing champion. They begin a quest to retrieve it. Their time-travel device M.I.T. has been damaged and the story becomes a fractured “choose-your-own-adventure” as they are sent to different places at the same time and try different courses of action to retrieve the Udder. In several of these they alternative storylines they die; by time-travelling; plummeting off a flat planet; falling through a rope bridge, falling over a waterfall, or by being turned into sewerage-loving fish. In another timeline they find Limousin and help him defeat the Harpies who plague his meals. He sends them to find Simmental – a Zebu to whom he lost the Udder in a card game. When they reach Simmental’s planet Zebu, they meet a young servant girl named Medea. She helps them to achieve their aim of finding The Golden Udder. Simmental promises the trio that they can have the Udder if they repair his broken travelator, which they do. The Zebu then reneges on his plan forcing them to steal it from a dragon, who they release from his dungeon prison. The dragon then saves them from the army in a show of gratitude and the three manage to return the Udder to Fresia where it belongs.

Analysis

Graphic novel for children, with a science-fiction and comedy approach to classical myth and antiquity. 

The Golden Udder is a subversion and re-appropriation of the tale of the golden fleece similar in style to a fractured fairytale.It is not Jason who is searching for the fleece however, but the human heroes of the story, who travel through time and space to track down the Udder/Fleece. The tale takes the episodic nature of the Odyssey (a carry-over from the previous book in the series – The Wooden Cow) and fractures it further presenting the reader with choices about what storylines to follow. Most of these storylines result in violent and tragic deaths that mimic those of classical mythology, but with a twist of the silliness the series embraces. There are references to many classical mythological characters, from Harpies, the Sphinx and Amycus, to Medea, who helps the heroes steal the Golden Udder and then falls in love with the Udder’s dragon protector. The book also has a self-referential commentator in the Narrator who parodies the Greek Chorus. The story takes the mythological elements and the original story and twists it, chops it up and re-assembles it as a fast-paced action tale of absurdity for young readers who may recognise these references, but also may not. The choose-your-own-adventure style is a new element in this fourth book, but serves to distinguish the book as something new and different from the previous ones in the series and allows for more allusions and absurdity. 


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Leaf pattern
Leaf pattern

Title of the work

Story Maze (Series, Book 4): The Golden Udder

Country of the First Edition

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

2002

First Edition Details

Terry Denton, Story Maze 4: The Golden Udder. Sydney: Allen & Unwin Children's Books: Allen & Unwin, 2002, 114 pp.

ISBN

9781865087849

Genre

Action and adventure comics
Comics (Graphic works)
Fantasy fiction
Fiction
Fractured fairytales*
Humor
Illustrated works

Target Audience

Children

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Lynnette Lounsbury: Avondale College of Higher Education and The University of New England, lynnette.lounsbury@avondale.edu.au 

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, ehale@une.edu.au

Daniel Nkemleke, Universite de Yaounde 1, nkemlekedan@yahoo.com

Male portrait

Terry Denton (Author)

Born the youngest of five boys in Melbourne, Australia, Terry Denton loved art from a young age and drew constantly in his spare time. He studied architecture at Melbourne University, was a comedic theatre actor and regularly created cartoons for the University newspapers. After University he spent time on his art working in animation, painting, etching, sculpture, cartooning and shop window design. In 1984 he wrote and illustrated Felix and Alexander which was published in 1985 and won the Australian Children’s Book Council Picture Book of the Year in 1986. Since then he has written and/or illustrated more than 100 books, including the Gasp! books and TV series, the Wombat and Fox books, and the Bumper Books (1, 2 and 3). He began collaborating with Australian writer Andy Griffiths in 1997 and they developed the Just! series, followed by The Cat on the Mat is Flat, The Bad Books and more recently the hugely successful children’s comedy series The Treehouse books-13, 26, 39, 52, 65 and 78. He has won more than fifteen children’s choice awards throughout Australia and another 40 more with Andy Griffiths. These include the Australian awards – The Multicultural Book of the Year, Best Designed Picture Book, Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Award 2014 and The Australia Book Industry Association Book of the Year for older readers in both 2012, 2013 and 2015.

In 1991 he worked for the Australian Children’s Television Foundation on the TV show Lift-Off, spending two years planning the program and designing the puppets.  Terry does many school visits throughout the year holding both writing and artistic workshops. He is also a fine artist and has held several exhibitions in Melbourne.


Sources:

Official website (accessed: July 3, 2018).

Morriss, Maureen. Highlights of the 1995 Children's Book of the Year shortlist [Book Review] [online]. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, The, Vol. 18, No. 3, Aug 1995: 219-227. 

Winner of the 2015 ABIA book of the year [online]. Incite, Vol. 36, No. 6/7, Jun/Jul 2015: 12-13. 

Profile at the thelitcentre.org.au (accessed: March 3, 2018).


Bio prepared by Lynnette Lounsbury, Avondale College of Higher Education and The University of New England, lynnette.lounsbury@avondale.edu.au


Summary

The fourth in the Storymaze series follows the surfing adventures of Nico, Claudia and Mikey through parallel worlds and across the universe. This time they continue their attempt to help Ulysses to win the Queen of Fresia with The Golden Udder. However, when they attempt to retrieve the Udder, they discover it has been stolen by Amycus (along with Nico’s surfboard) and lost in a bet to Limousin, a surfing champion. They begin a quest to retrieve it. Their time-travel device M.I.T. has been damaged and the story becomes a fractured “choose-your-own-adventure” as they are sent to different places at the same time and try different courses of action to retrieve the Udder. In several of these they alternative storylines they die; by time-travelling; plummeting off a flat planet; falling through a rope bridge, falling over a waterfall, or by being turned into sewerage-loving fish. In another timeline they find Limousin and help him defeat the Harpies who plague his meals. He sends them to find Simmental – a Zebu to whom he lost the Udder in a card game. When they reach Simmental’s planet Zebu, they meet a young servant girl named Medea. She helps them to achieve their aim of finding The Golden Udder. Simmental promises the trio that they can have the Udder if they repair his broken travelator, which they do. The Zebu then reneges on his plan forcing them to steal it from a dragon, who they release from his dungeon prison. The dragon then saves them from the army in a show of gratitude and the three manage to return the Udder to Fresia where it belongs.

Analysis

Graphic novel for children, with a science-fiction and comedy approach to classical myth and antiquity. 

The Golden Udder is a subversion and re-appropriation of the tale of the golden fleece similar in style to a fractured fairytale.It is not Jason who is searching for the fleece however, but the human heroes of the story, who travel through time and space to track down the Udder/Fleece. The tale takes the episodic nature of the Odyssey (a carry-over from the previous book in the series – The Wooden Cow) and fractures it further presenting the reader with choices about what storylines to follow. Most of these storylines result in violent and tragic deaths that mimic those of classical mythology, but with a twist of the silliness the series embraces. There are references to many classical mythological characters, from Harpies, the Sphinx and Amycus, to Medea, who helps the heroes steal the Golden Udder and then falls in love with the Udder’s dragon protector. The book also has a self-referential commentator in the Narrator who parodies the Greek Chorus. The story takes the mythological elements and the original story and twists it, chops it up and re-assembles it as a fast-paced action tale of absurdity for young readers who may recognise these references, but also may not. The choose-your-own-adventure style is a new element in this fourth book, but serves to distinguish the book as something new and different from the previous ones in the series and allows for more allusions and absurdity. 


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