This is the first in a series of books about Sam Wu and it is an outrageous romp through a young boy's struggles as he tries to prove that he is the best at something. It is difficult growing up when you have friends that are the fastest, the tallest and the smartest and you are the nothing-est. And to make matters worse, Ralph Philip Zinkerman the Third, the school bully, calls you Sam Wu-ser (yes it rhymes with loser).
After THE UNFORTUNATE INCIDENT THAT SHALL NEVER BE MENTIONED AGAIN at the Space Museum, Sam sets out to shake off the name Scaredy-Cat-Sam and prove that he is the bravest…by any means possible. Whether that be buying a deadly pet or catching a terrifying ghost. With his favourite TV show Space Blasters and Captain Jane and Spaceman Jack to guide him, what can possibly go wrong?
It was refreshing to read a children’s book where the main character is from a culturally diverse background and I loved how the authors explored elements of this without it taking over the narrative. Sam’s nervousness at his friends coming over to his house and their shock at a dinner of roast duck and turnip cake and then having to eat using chopsticks. Na-na with her English language difficulties but who is always there for Sam when he needs her, even if that wink she gives him means that he will owe her at some point.
I challenge any child or adult to not be laughing out loud as they read this book. This is a particularly great read for children who are in the early stages of reading chapter books. The pages are not overloaded with text and the wacky and imaginative layout is packed full of hilarious illustrations by the talented Nathan Reed. This book is unashamedly over the top and everything is exaggerated - and it is all the better for this!
Recommended for 7+.