Friday, May 25, 2018

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book of the Week - Week Ending 25th May 2018: "Gangster School" by Kate Wiseman (Zuntold Publishing) @ZunTold

Kids are always drawn to stories that appeal to their natural subversive natures, and our Chapter Book of the Week beautifully taps right into that, big time...!
As adults, we're always surprised to find that our offspring have a tendency to admire the 'seedier' characters in books. C professes her love of Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter Books (and I'm pretty sure she would 'marry' Kylo Ren at the drop of a hat - ack!) so it's really not a big shock to find she loved "Gangster School" by Kate Wiseman right from the outset.

Picture the scene, a new school, a pair of 'fish out of water' kids, and a ruthless villain who will stop at nothing to achieve her rather bizarre ambitions. It's nothing we've not seen before, but in this case the school is a school that could be described in the same way as Mos Eisley. "A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy" - a school for gangsters where nefarious deeds, criminal acts and extreme naughtiness are part of the curriculum.

The two kids in question are the odd ones out purely because they're really good kids, and in a neat twist always seem to look for ways to disrupt what's going on at Gangster School in the nicest possible way.

Quite at odds with the villain of the piece, Pecunia Badpenny, the sort of evil arch-nemesis we love reading about in books (and of course a character that instantly appealed to C - see above!) Stylish, evil and absolutely hell bent on destroying Gangster School, Pecunia causes a switch-around in the opinions of our two heroes who decide that they will do everything to stop Pecunia's grand plan.

It's bonkers, full of hilarious little moments of gigglesome humour and feels fresh and unique thanks to some awesome worldbuilding and some really great characters. We think Zuntold have picked a bit of a winner here with one of their early publications, and as a newly-formed publisher it's always a good idea to hit the ground running. "Gangster School" will absolutely appeal to kids who can't get enough of writers like Liz Pinchon and Jim Smith.

C described it as one of the funniest 'school' books she'd read in absolutely ages, and if that's not high praise, I don't know what is.

"Gangster School" by Kate Wiseman is out now, published by Zuntold (Kindly supplied for review).