Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Macmillan March 2015
Illustrated throughout by Steven Lenton.
256 pages in paperback
Summary from publisher’s website
Rory Rooney likes to be prepared for all eventualities. His favourite book is Don't Be Scared, Be Prepared, and he has memorized every page of it. He could even survive a hippo attack. He knows that just because something is unlikely doesn't mean it won't ever happen ...But Rory isn't prepared when he suddenly and inexplicably turns green. Stuck in an isolation ward in a hospital far from home with two other remarkably green children, Rory's as confused by his new condition as the medics seem to be. But what if it's not in their genes, or a virus, or something they ate? What if turning green actually means you've turned into a superhero? Rory can't wait to make it past hospital security and discover exactly what his superpower might be ...
The last book I reviewed for Serendipity was a creepy contemporary chiller ‘Frozen Charlotte’ – not a lot of laughs in that. This is the complete antidote. Thank you, Mr Boyce, for making laugh like a loon on public transport. 
Do not attempt to read Broccoli Boy in the Quiet Carriage.
Our hero – who so desperately wants to be a Superhero – is called Rory. Rory is in hospital because he has turned green. He finds, like Kermit, it’s not easy being green.
Frequent readers of Mr Boyce will not be surprised to know that amongst all the fun, there’s real warmth in this story. The relationships between Rory and ‘Grim’ Kominsky, Koko – and the penguin - are shown with affection. Without being preached at, children will learn a great deal about courage, prejudice and friendship – oh, and very tall buildings.
I loved the comic book-style titles - and many readers will probably enjoy the end-notes as much as I did. Together they have that delightful mixture of realism and imaginative exuberance which lightens the whole delightfully silly book.
Easy-to-read and great fun, this could easily be enjoyed by both the very young and any older readers [like me] who enjoy storytelling with pictures and great heart. Lovely fun.

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