Tuesday, 11 December 2012

May Produce Gas (World of Norm)

May Produce Gas (World of Norm) by Jonathan Meres (Orchard/Hachette)
PB RRP $12.99
ISBN 9781408323601
Reviewed by Hilary Smillie

Former comedian, Jonathan Meres has written a third funny book for nine-year-olds plus revolving around the character of Norm, who appears slightly dim and definitely bewildered by his small world.
His father worries about greenhouse gas and the story begins with Norm being blamed for global warming for not turning off his computer or putting too much water in the kettle to boil. Norm thinks it is more about saving money rather than energy as his dad is out of work. He's not too worried about his dad's punishment threats as he never follows through. Meanwhile, Mikey, his friend who is already thirteen, worries about getting hormones which leads Norm to having a chat with Grandpa. But he comes away more confused than ever.
Meres uses the ordinary concerns of family life and becoming a teenager to produce a clever and humorous story which will give young readers a glimpse into puberty e.g., needing deodorant and becoming aware of girls. He includes parental worry about Norm's younger sibling Dave, and Norm's reactions to discovering both Dave and Brian are victims of bullying. All the dilemmas are easy to relate to and young readers will thoroughly enjoy Norm's way of tackling them, or not. They will no doubt grab on to Norm's favourite word, 'flipping' and invent words similar to abso-flipping-lutely!
Complete with lots of black and white illustrations, this light-hearted novel is a pleasing length of 275 pages. Kids will be sorry when they reach the end. An excerpt from the first book will get them scurrying to the book store.

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