Thursday, June 07, 2018

Kid Normal: Super without Super Powers?

If I’m being honest, when I first picked up the novel Kid Normal by Greg James and Chris Smith, I put it back. While you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, I was definitely guilty. I mean, the edges of the pages are yellow, and not in what I’d consider an attractive way.
Cover of the book. Image courtesy

At the time of purchase, I was at my school's book fair and I wanted to get a variety of books from all sorts of genres and styles for my classroom.

As I arrived at the check out, Kid Normal had migrated back into my basket. Thus, my fate was sealed.

No regrets.

The novel is about Murph Cooper. Desperate to find him a new school after a recent move, Murph ends up in “The School.” Unbeknownst to Murph and his family, the School is for children with special powers called “capabilities” or “capes” for short. Children enroll to learn how to control powers like super strength or speed so that they can either enter the world as future heroes, or merely gain control of less desirable capabilities (transforming your head into a giant fog horn or summoning two tiny horses) and return quietly to the normal world. Murph, being a normal kid, doesn’t quite fit in. But with an evil wasp-man on the loose, he just might have to step up!

The novel is a blend of images, text, and font choices that come together to add a depth to the story, especially when it comes to sounds. The authors work full time as radio DJs and they bring in extra noise with radio-like elements that make the story really leap off the page. Full of jokes, pop culture references and the occasional aside to the audience, I can almost imagine them reading parts of the story aloud! A truly enjoyable ride.

While I fell in love with the overall story and quirky cast of characters (again, summoning miniature horses?), my favourite part of the book is how James and Smith use descriptive language--something I never thought I’d say. The descriptions, however, are hilarious. Half of the time they don’t make sense, or they are over exaggerated. At times, they compare characters, settings and objects using similes and metaphors that are utterly ridiculous and I can’t help but burst into laughter.

For the hysterical writing, engaging plot, and interesting characters, I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good story and can laugh at themselves.

Happy Reading!

P.S. This post was initially written for a project with my grade 6 students this term, but I liked the book so much I wanted to spread the word.

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