Review Blog

Jan 16 2020

Near extinction by R.A. Spratt

cover image

The Peski Kids book 4. Puffin Books, 2020. ISBN: 9780143796367.
(Age: Upper primary+) Highly recommended. Near extinction is the third book in The Peski Kids series. This time the Peski (pesky) kids literally face their own extinction in a dinosaur park on a class geography/paleontology excursion.
The Peski Kids series is full of exciting, page-turning adventure. Spratt exposes the reader to current social/cultural/political concerns, language and vocabulary whilst somehow managing an authentic tween/teen voice.
The characters are clever and outrageous young people who stun the reader with their sharp banter and antics. You can't identify with them (they're too wild) but the teenage reader would be impressed with them, following their activities (from a safe place) and never admitting openly (rather surreptitiously investigating) if they don't understand some of the witty allusions. The Pesky Kids are countercultural with some of their comments and actions. Being well rounded characters, they all have flaws and strengths which happen to be somewhat complementary.
Hilarious, current, politically incorrect terms and idioms by the dozen fly in the rapid fire dialogue between the characters. The smart play with language and meaning is perfect for the upper primary child. We want our readers to be exposed to rich vocabulary. The book demands active thinking too. The motivation is there because this is rude, insolent, smart kid talk and as a kid yourself you would not want to appear out of it. The author tantalizes the reader with connections like " . . . my brother will bear a striking resemblance to Anne Boleyn . . . " Many terms and concepts such as man spread, misogyny, roadkill and human smoothies are thrown about and hilariously dealt with by these characters.
The Peski Kids: Near extinction conjures up a fantastic visual adventure. Imagine a pink school bus with a theme park dinosaur speared into the roof with a child caught in its jaws being driven by jewel thieves at break-neck speed down a country road chased by a rural policeman and international spies.
Even though The Peski Kids: Near extinction seems to be about tough, naughty kids who go against the grain, it is also about love, family, right and wrong and shades of grey. Adoption, migration, international espionage, teenage relationships and unusual family structures are embedded themes.
R.A. Spratt does not disappoint with The Peski Kids series for older children. Highly recommended.
Wendy Jeffery

BUY IT ON booktopia
Archived Blog Entries