Kid Normal by Greg James and Chris Smith
|Kid Normal by Greg James and Chris Smith|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Fun middle grade anti-superhero adventure from radio personalities Greg James and Chris Smith. Funny and irreverent with the worthwhile message that everyone is special in their own way.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: July 2017|
Murph Cooper is fed up. He and his mum have moved house. Again. This means another new home to get used to. This means another new school to get used to. This means another set of friends left behind. And if that weren't enough, this time he doesn't even have a new school to go to. Everywhere is full. Eventually, a place is found - at The School, a strange place hidden away in a back street. The School is a school unlike any other. It caters for children with superpowers. But Murph doesn't have any superpowers and is soon consigned to the socially undesirable super zeroes gang. The kids with superpowers are not kind to the super zeroes...
... but even super zeroes have villains to fight. And Nektar is pretty villainous. Man become wasp, Nektar is a force that must be vanquished.
Kid Normal is the debut book from radio personalities Greg James and Chris Smith. And they have done themselves proud. It's chock full of slapstick humour, outrageous characters and pop culture references. It mocks school pecking orders and will make all kids who have fallen foul of them feel much better about it. And somehow, it ties all the mania together in a credible and thrilling story in which young anti-superheroes vanquish an evil villain, despite their lack of superpowers. Common decency for the win, you guys!
Kid Normal will suit kids in the 8-12 age range. The slapstick humour will be perfect for it. But I will say that it's a brick of a book, coming in at almost four hundred pages, not all of them absolutely necessary. I think it could do with a bit more tightness and focus if I'm honest and I'd only recommend it to the keenest of eight-year-old readers. The same story could have been told - and perhaps to better effect - with considerably fewer words. This is not a major criticism but it is worth parents taking note - there's nothing worse for encouraging reading than buying a book for a child which is abandoned halfway through.
Nevertheless, Kid Normal is a fab read for middle graders. It's fun and funny with a central character everyone will want to root for. There are some real laugh out loud moments and the whole thing is written with an eye to reading aloud, with plenty of emphases, characters with silly voices and a multitude of sound effects. And, best of all, it has some great messages about everyone being special in their own way. Sometimes, ordinariness, common sense and kindness wins the day. Who'dathunkit?!
Of course, kids shouldn't miss another unlikely hero in the shape of the Wimpy Kid stories by Jeff Kinney. We also enjoyed Moone Boy: the Blunder Years by Chris O'Dowd and Nick Vincent Murphy.
You can read more book reviews or buy Kid Normal by Greg James and Chris Smith at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Kid Normal by Greg James and Chris Smith at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.