Sunday 3 January 2021

Nelson Broccoli and Spies

Nelson Broccoli and Spies by Andrew Levins, illustrated by Katie Kear (Puffin Books) PB RRP $12.99 ISBN 978 1760893392

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Broccoli, a vegetable universally despised by most kids, attacks Nelson in the first chapter of this green book, pulling his hair and giving him a wedgie. However, in the second chapter, we learn this was ‘only a dream.’ Nelson then travels to his grand-parents farm where they grow -- what else? – plenty of vegetables. It is here we learn that in Book One, Nelson Pumpkins and Aliens, that Nelson has recently used his pumpkin superpowers to save his teacher from being eaten by aliens. Now, at his grandparents’ place, he needs grandpa to help him learn how to tap dance. And, too, he has a pile of homework for next term.

The author of this middle-grade reader is a food writer, DJ, and charity founder. In his debut book series, he writes about a boy whose nemesis – vegetables – are the key to his superpowers. The question of course is does he have to eat broccoli – and other veggies -- to save the day? And what is the mysterious flying machine at the farm?

The book, with ongoing humorous adventures, features a picture of a bunch of broccoli at the start of every chapter, and there are frequent pages with black print on green paper and quirky illustrations. Certainly, broccoli gets a major look-in throughout the book.

Book Three in the series is titled Nelson Eggplants and Dinosaurs.

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