The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce

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The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Anne Thompson
Reviewed by Anne Thompson
Summary: Rory Rooney – Superhero or Alien? No, he’s just an ordinary boy to whom extraordinary things happen in this story full of adventure and giggles.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: March 2015
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
ISBN: 9781405054676

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Rory Rooney is a boy who likes to be prepared. His mum owns a book titled Don't Be Scared, Be Prepared and he knows every page of it. Rory is the type of boy who knows how to survive a hippo attack. Then one day on a school trip Rory turns green. Not pale, feeling a bit queasy green but bright broccoli green all over. Even Rory isn't prepared for this.

Transferred to the isolation ward of a London hospital Rory finds he is not alone as huddled in the next bed is another bright green boy. Those in the medical profession are as bewildered by the boys' condition as they are and as medical tests continue without finding the cause Rory reaches an interesting conclusion. Could they have turned green because they have turned into superheroes? If they have what will their super powers be and how can they use them? The boys decide to escape from the hospital security in the middle of the night and find out for themselves.

A surreal flight of fancy, this is a funny, at times hilarious, story. In a similar way to Cottrell Boyce's novel Cosmic there is a running theme throughout the story and this time it is comics and Superheroes. Rory's dad keeps his supply of Spiderman Comics under the bed and has an impressive knowledge of Superhero history and this has resulted in Rory seeing life in a sort of comic book format. His adventures are interspersed with the occasional Kerpow, Thud or Crash. At moments of high drama Rory asks himself questions such as 'What would Batman do?' Although this may sound a bit irritating in fact it isn't and gives an insight into Rory's thinking which makes the reader feel that they understand what makes him tick.

Beneath the adventure and fun this story also conveys the idea that everybody may have a little bit of a superhero hidden away deep inside. Rory discovers not only that he is braver than he thought he was, but that the school bully may not be brave at all. As in most of Frank Cottrell Boyce's books at its heart this is really about friendship.

Although the length of the book at 400 pages would be a challenge for children who have not yet built up reading stamina the short, snappy chapters, humour and storyline may well encourage them to have a go. Almost every day children visiting the school library ask me where the funny books are. This would definitely be on the funny shelf.

Thank you to the publishers, Macmillan Children's Books, for this review copy.

If books with plenty of humour such as this one and a lead character children find easy to identify with appeal The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by Liz Pichon is extremely popular.

Buy The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce at

Buy The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce at


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