Friday 19 November 2021

Funny Kid: Prank Ninjas

Funny Kid: Prank Ninjas by Matt Stanton (ABC Books) ISBN 978 0 7333 4062 8 RRP $14.99 

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

The latest of Matt Stanton’s Funny Kid series, Prank Ninjas is again about Max Walbut, his duck, and his friends in the town of Redhill. This time the focus is on pranking – specifically ninja pranking – which gets going right from the first page. Max fools all his friends in a cinema, which leads to taking sides. This leads to getting into trouble, then payback, which gets them into more trouble. They get caught by the Mayor Lopez who announces a dreaded Kid-Free Zone for the town. When they discover they’re not the only ones doing the pranking, the kids unite and plan one last elaborate prank to find the culprit.  


With Matt Stanton’s distinctive cartoon illustrations, the story goes at a cracking pace with lots of humour (including quite a bit of toilet humour). Max and his friends Hugo, Pip, Tyson, and Max’s frenemy Abby are on school holidays. After the prank in the cinema, Max’s friends retaliate, and they start a pranking war in Redhill Bargain Busters. Max enlists the help of Hugo (who has an annoying habit of reading all the time) to try to get hold of Abby’s journal. For some reason, Max suspects Abby is in love with him, and he reasons that if everyone else finds this out, she will be humiliated.

However, things go wrong when they run up against a cling film maze at the library and some swapped over toilet signs, that neither group is responsible for. By order of the mayor, all kids in Redhill must stay home unless accompanied by an adult. And it’s all Max and his friends’ fault. Or is it? Blamed for something they didn’t do, the kids all team up to discover the ninja behind the pranking and to finally make them pay.

Included at the end of the book, is the first chapter of another of the author’s books – The Odds. This is the tenth book in the Funny Kid series, suitable for children aged 8+ years.

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