Super-Loud Sam by Jo Simmons

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Super-Loud Sam by Jo Simmons

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: Whether it be a standalone or a series opener, this quick and inventive adventure is just a joyously fun read. We'll be shouting its praises for a long time.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 160 Date: May 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press
ISBN: 9781407152301

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Sam is loud. Not just loud as in the loudest lad in class, and not just loud as in loudest fire alarm in school. No, Sam is LOUD loud. Stop traffic in the streets loud. Scary loud. Loud enough to make passing birds forget how to fly loud. There's little rhyme or reason for this, just as there is no real reason why his best friend Nina does nothing but knit all the livelong day, even when walking to school. It's just something you have to accept. But what's this? Their favourite teacher has vanished, and a new one has taken his place – Mrs Mann. She's ridiculous with her weirdly large hands, her huge cardigan and even huger beehive hairdo. The biggest thing about her though is the threat she poses – that of eternal silence in her lessons. How can Sam possibly continue at school, when even him clearing his throat is like a plane crash in your ears?

There's an obvious pun to make when you like a book this much with this kind of character – shouting about it from the rooftops and other adages all spring to mind. The thing is, while I'll try and lower my voice a little, I do have to be ebullient about this volume because it's just brilliant. You know when you pick up a book for the under-tens and you're wading through what is clearly trying to set up a new series, as opposed to telling you just one good story? Doesn't happen here. You know when you perhaps get a great character, but a weak plot, or a strong circumstance for someone you can't take to? Here the balance is perfect.

The balance is, in fact, perfect when it comes to all the contents. There is high drama and mystique – various missing characters throughout the book, the school hunk suddenly coming on board with the school embarrassment and lots of tea. There is a great and easy sense of humour – something really like Philip Ardagh at his best – yet married to a brilliant narrative. The arc of this story is along the lines of the best around and doesn't just build to a point and flummox its way to the end. It's persistently intriguing and will keep the young reader enthralled.

No way is this just a wacky book concerning one loud kid and the scrapes and nuisances that causes. It's an origin story, it's a mystery, it's high drama and it goes so much further than I expected, even having read many of the author's prior books. Where this series (if indeed it becomes one) takes us I don't know. But if it does not get a batch of sequels – and fast – Jo Simmons will never hear the end of it…

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

Anyone But Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp and John Kelly has come closest to providing us with an equally warm and wacky adventure most recently. You might also enjoy A Piggy Pickle (Pip Street) by Jo Simmons.

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Buy Super-Loud Sam by Jo Simmons at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Super-Loud Sam by Jo Simmons at


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