Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Derek Dool Supercool Bust a Move

Derek Dool Supercool Bust a Move by Adrian Beck, illustrated by Scott Edgar (Penguin Random House) PB RRP $14.99 ISBN 9781760892951

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

School friendships, two school rivals with big egos duel it out at the school disco with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. A dance off between the school loser and the school cool kid. Who will be the winner?

This hilarious new book by Adrian Beck is sure to be a winner.  Derek thinks he’s the coolest, funniest, most handsome kid in school, amp that up a gazillion times and you have Derek Dilbert Dool. The only problem is he is the only one that thinks so.

Derek has a front that hides the insecurities he holds inside, that are revealed as we get to know him. At first you wonder why anyone would be his friend. As a reader you to get laugh along at his embarrassing misfortunes, all brought on by his own belief that he is the best dancer in the whole school. He’s kidding himself and his dancing skills are a big problem. But deep down he wants to be liked by all the cool kids and fit in.

Derek, along with his two sidekicks Big Denise and Booger, and Cruz with his blinding smile and friends go head to head. Bring into the picture vice principal Verne who should have been on the stage and you have setting for a dance off like no other. There are laughs galore but there’s also clever writing that shows the inner side of the characters and their behaviours. This allows a reader to not only laugh but think and empathise with each character and champion for Derek and his friends in the end.

Scott Edgar’s cartoon sketches add to the humour and bring more layers of meaning to the character, setting and events. They also show how small Derek feels when the spotlight is upon him at the big dance off.  The cover is perfect for the book with Derek front and centre along with a disco ball. It captures the heart of the story well.

The text is engaging, action packed and easy to read. The story moves along at a fun pace that really engages a reader. This is a great book for middle grade readers, especially those in grades 2-4.

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