Monday 27 May 2013

The Dunderheads Behind Bars

The Dunderheads Behind Bars by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by David Roberts (Walker Books)
PB RRP $16.95
ISBN 9781406344752
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

The Dunderheads are a cool group of kids, unconventional looking, but super-smart and resourceful. Each child has a special talent and a name associated with that talent. All together they are invincible.

School has finished for the year and the Dunderheads are glad to see the back of their teacher Miss Breakbone who hates kids. Rising star Ashley Throb-Hart, is filming in town and a call is out for extras. The Dunderheads get chosen to be in the playground scene, but so is Miss Breakbone.

A thief has been stealing expensive jewels around the area and the tyrannical Breakbone convinces her brother the Inspector, that Spider is the villain because of his climbing abilities, and Spider gets put in jail. The other Dunderheads draw up an elaborate plan to catch the real culprit but they end up in jail as well. Nothing will stop them for there’s always Einstein’s Plan B.

The illustrations by David Roberts are detailed, full of expression and movement, and highly comical. They bring Fleischman’s characters to life on the page and accentuate the text in a brilliant fashion.

This is the second Dunderheads book by Paul Fleischman who won the PEN USA Literary Award in 2010 for The Dunderheads, and the Newbery Medal for Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices. His latest picture book, the outstanding The Matchbox Diary, has just been released through Walker Books.

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