BILLY PLONKER AND THE GROT LABORATORY By Ian Billings @IanBillings @VENTORROSP @VENTORROSPRESS #BillyPlonkerAndTheGrotLaboratory #LoveBooksGroup

Thank you to Love Books Group for my spot on the blog tour 1st September


Billy Plonka – the Prince of Stink, the Monarch of Muck, the Sultan of Slime, the Duke of Dregs and the King of Kak. He’s the most extraordinary maker of GROT in the entire world, and he’s invited 5 individuals (Orson Ploop – An overweight kazoo playing protégé; Victoria Scabb – 259th in line to the English throne; Viola Mudguard – 11-year-old, ex-Wollywood star; Spike Peecee – A self-obsessed dweeb who can never disconnect from the Internet; and Marley Suckett – An anti-hero), to visit his world-famous Grot Laboratory, and step into an adventure they will never forget!

Your tour is about to start. Don’t wander off . YOU! Yes, YOU! I’m talking to YOU! Mr. Plonka would hate to lose you along the way… READ IT!!! BILLY PLONKA AND THE GROT LABORATORY- the 100% unofficial official parody of one of the greatest children’s stories of all time.

This modern re-telling of the Roald Dahl’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ stays true to the wonderful wit of Dahl, but brings the tale into the modern age with a lovely twist at the end. Each character meets their grotty fate as they go on their tour of The Grot Laboratory – as the name suggests, a disgusting place full of scumpiddlinoxious fumes and materials. Words reminiscent of Dahl fill the pages – Whi-ffi (it’s like wifi only smellier), whazzplop and picklescooper to name but a few.


This is a book that will probably appeal to young middle school readers, any who enjoyed Ronald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was one of my children’s favourite films it was watched over and over. This story is very similar to Charlie and the chocolate factory but instead of it being about sweets and chocolate. It’s more about grot, with lots of silly words. But an entertaining read that I’m sure youngsters would find amusing.

It’s an absolutely perfect parody of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ some great wordplay. Instead of the Oompa Loompas it’s the Grumpy Trumpers. Instead of Willy Wonka we obviously have Billy Plonker, the children who get to visit have equally strange names such as Orson Ploop, who is an overweight Kazoo playing protege. Instead of Charlie we have Marley Suckett an anti hero. I loved Marley Suckett’s school report it reads “Worst pupil ever! He was once asked to visit the educational psychiatrist. Marley was unaffected by the visit, but the psychiatrist was later found sitting in the school pond, crying to herself and sucking on a damp teabag. Once after interviewing him, the careers advisor suggested he was best suited for work as a bank robber, global criminal mastermind or a careers advisor. He once lost the school sandpit. Then he flooded the nursery with mouldy custard. Then he stole all the toilets and sold them on iBay and he did it all in one day because that’s the only time he ever-attended school. Very good a colouring in, though” The Suckett’s are the absolute opposite of what Charlie and his family are, Marley preferred to get himself some chocolate instead of the cough mixture he was sent to get for his grandparents. Being a self centred, naughty and funny boy.

The story does follow a very similar plot as in scratch cards have to be found instead of tickets for 5 people to visit. But I’m not sure I would want to win to visit a place that smells as some of the descriptions mention.

With lots of laughter and humour as you read. Even though it’s not really aimed at adults I did find myself chuckling at some bits. I think it will entertain young readers, bringing an old story up to date with different twists. I would highly recommend this to parents of children in the middle school age if you are trying to get them to read, or if they already love reading I think this one will go down well. I love the addition of the drawn pictures of the characters, or the next room they are visiting at the beginning of each chapter.

This is a great parody of a classic story, highly amusing and entertaining.


Ian Billings was born at a very young age. He has done many things in his time and some of them he’d like to tell you about. He is an ex-juggler, a pantomime writer (fifty productions!), an actor, TV extra, a theatre technician, a university lecturer, a model and a general dabbler in many areas.

He has written episodes of BBC TV’s Chuckle-Vision and his stage plays and pantomimes have been performed in Wolverhampton, Northampton, Hastings, Nottingham, Weston-Super-Mare and on a ferry to Spain. He has a Masters Degree from Birmingham University and two goldfish from Petworld. He is five feet and seven inches in length and avoids cheese.

Ian began performing stand-up comedy for kids at Edinburgh Festival Fringe (whilst also presenting his own radio show for Festival FM!) and now he tours theatres and schools throughout the UK, Cyprus, Germany, Australia, Uganda, Kenya, Russia, Switzerland, UAE, Oman, Vietnam and Thailand. He was described by one young audience member as “the most imaginative adult I’ve ever met!”

Caboodle Books reprinted SAM HAWKINS AND THE POINTY HEAD LIGHT HOUSE followed by sci-fi poetry collection, SPACE ROCKS!

Ian has edited an anthology of children’s poems for Save the Children called “Born to Giggle!” and his latest book is “BILLY PLONKA AND THE GROT LABORATORY.”

2020 saw re-issues of his classic children’s comedies “Sam Hawkins and the Cutglass Cutlass” and “Chocolate Meltdown” from Tiddley Pom Books together with new versions of “The King’s New Space Suit”, “I’ve Got Your Nose” and two brand new books, “There’s a Vampire in My Bedroom” and “Boooo!!!”

Social Media

Twitter: @mrianbillings

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