The power of positive pranking by Nat Amoore

cover image

Penguin, 2020. ISBN: 9780143796381.
(Ages: 9+). Highly recommended. The power of positive pranking by Nat Amoore is a powerful and uplifting middle grade read. Three environmentally aware and pro-active children with wisdom and creative problem solving beyond their years keep the reader highly entertained and engaged in the eventful storyline. Casey, Zeke and Cookie are the only members of the Green Peas tribe which practices environmental activism through positive pranking. They have their own manifesto of twenty-six rules which are each identified as the chapter headings. The first chapter begins with a school assembly and a series of hidden alarm clocks set to go off at intervals with the final alarm going off under the Principal's chair. Needless to say pandemonium sets in and the grand finale prank is a banner dropping from the ceiling stating: WAKE UP! DINOSAURS THOUGHT THEY HAD TIME TOO. SAVE OUR PLANET NOW. The three children are never suspected and have made a positive thought-provoking statement which begins some classroom discussion although the Principal is definitely not happy. Each of the three members bring different skills to the action group: Casey is the ideas person who organises and plans everything, Zeke is the tech guy who considers himself a Ninja and Cookie is super creative and arty. All three children come from very different and diverse backgrounds: Zeke from a large blended family, Cookie has two dads and Casey lives with her father and grandfather who are both deaf. Casey's mother passed away when she was young and shared throughout the book are Trixie's recipe cards with meaningful thoughts for Casey written on them. When Mayor Lupphol visits the school, the Green Peas once again make a stand which is broadcast over the Internet and through Casey's Grandfather's lip reading skills, the tribe learns that the crooked Mayor has a major and sinister plan in place. With support from other students and adults the plan is foiled in a cunning and collaborative effort.
The author has cleverly connected her first novel Secrets of a schoolyard millionaire to the story by three of her characters Tess, Toby and Kathy joining the Green Peas. The power of positive pranking encourages children to see that they can make a difference in climate change and environmental issues. This novel would be a wonderful read aloud to be shared in the classroom as there are so many important learning points and issues to be discussed. Themes: Family, School, Relationships, Disability, Diversity, Activism, Grief, Humour, Environmental issues, Sustainability.
Kathryn Beilby