Review Blog

Aug 15 2012

Nerdy Ninjas vs the really really bad guys by Shogun Whamhower

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Scholastic Press, 2012. 137 pages.
(Ages: 9-12) Shogun Whamhower has created a humorous school story about four Year 6 nerds standing up to the school bully in an irreverent way. The characters of our four nerds are pleasantly developed over the course of the story. Veejay is an opera singing, musical loving giant with a 27 page list of activities his 'helicopter mumsie' will not allow him to take part in including, but not limited to, right turns and sandcastle construction. Combine him with trumpet-playing Ben, pogo-stick bouncing Pongo and rocket-science loving Jake with his rocket-powered wheelchair and you have a combination sure to amuse, confuse and even make the reader snort with laughter. When the friends, newly teamed up in their foursome, encounter the infamous Financial Times-reading school bully Crispin Stanforth they are madly offended when he follows the Rule for Bullies #2089 and refuses to bully them due to their 'uber nerd' status. Deciding that becoming ninjas is the best way to rectify the situation the four friends begin their ninja training regime and start planning their revenge on Crispin with humorous results. Wonderful illustrations, varied fonts and various additions to the text add a real absurdity to this text, such as each chapter beginning with impractical tips from The Ninja Warrior's Handbook, humourously labelled diagrams, graphs and tables, funny footnotes and rules for teachers and bullies peppered throughout. Elements other than the text are more than just a partner to the story and really enhance the overall feel of the book and the story. This was completely indulgent to read, uses clever concepts and is fabulously witty. I love the way it celebrates the individual quirkiness of people and in a Roald Dahl-like way exaggerates their qualities, characteristics and habits. A great fun read that will be greatly enjoyed by its target age group.
Nicole Smith-Forrest

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