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BOOK REVIEW: Nelson – Pumpkins and Aliens by Andrew Levins, illustrated by Katie Kear

| 18 April 2020 | 1 Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Nelson – Pumpkins and Aliens by Andrew Levins, illustrated by Katie Kear

Puffin Books
March 2020
Paperback, $12.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

Middle Grade / Humour

65% Rocking


Meet Nelson . . . he’s an ordinary kid, just like you. Everyone thinks he’s shy but, really, he’s just bored.

Nelson hates vegetables. He hates the smell of them, he hates the look of them. Most of all, he hates eating them.

But what if they gave him superpowers? Superpowers he needs when an alien race he made up in class yesterday swoops into town and holds his school hostage, threatening to eat his teacher . . . 

Nelson is a boy who goes out of his way to avoid eating vegetables, pretending to eat them but instead hiding them in his pockets and dumping them under his bed. Which is suuuuuuuuper gross, but trust me, it comes back in to play later in the story… and should make you want to eat your veggies without complaining, the FIRST time around… before it’s had a chance to grow fur… yuck!

This is a fun and silly ride featuring detention, superpowers, class presentations, veggies, and aliens…

A coincidence is what we call something that is not planned or arranged but seems like it is. A coincidence can be as unremarkable as you and your best friend showing up to a Halloween party wearing the exact same costume, or as out-of-this-world remarkable as Nelson’s current situation.
You see, when he told his class yesterday that there was a race of teacher-eating aliens called the Despinites who lived on one of Neptune’s moons, he had no idea that there indeed was a race of aliens named exactly that who lived on the fifth moon of Neptune and loved nothing more than to eat teachers for brunch. It was an absolutely remarkable coincidence.

The design of the book follows the similar pattern of quite a few recent junior or middle-grade fiction titles. Short chapters, engaging and easy to read prose, illustrations, and one colour featuring prominently in the otherwise black and white illustrations… in this case, PUMPKIN ORANGE!

This is a story with good lessons, such as how important it is to eat your veggies, the importance of telling the truth, and how fighting with your hands is often not the way to go.

His voice! All this time he’d been trying to fight with his fists and feet when he could’ve just been fighting with words!

There’s obviously a lot of scope for more books in this series, and more superpowers to discover…

‘What’s this?’ he asked. Olive had written the names of about fifty different vegetables on the piece of paper.
‘Well, eating pumpkin made you super strong,’ Olive replied. ‘Aren’t you at all curious about what would happen if you ate a tomato? Or some cauliflower? Or a carrot?’
‘Nope.’ Nelson scrunched up the piece of paper and threw it in his cupboard, which was still missing a door. “And we’ll never, ever find out because I am never, ever eating a single disgusting vegetable again.”

Famous last words, eh Nelson?

Category: Book Reviews

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