I’m always on the lookout for those early chapter books that cater for the needs of children who are ready to begin reading longer and more challenging books that are still highly illustrated. Nelson: Broccoli and Spies is one such book that I highly recommend. This is the second book in the series but it reads perfectly well as a stand-alone. That said, after reading this one I will definitely be seeking out the first Nelson book as I’m sure other readers will too.
Nelson Hunter hates everything about vegetables. He does not want to eat them, he does not want to smell them and he definitely does not want to be fighting oversized broccoli in his dreams. He has recently discovered that pumpkin makes him super-strong and his grandma, a keen grower of vegetables, wants to experiment on her grandson to see what effects other vegetables may have. So, somewhat reluctantly, Nelson and his best-friend Olive are heading to his grandparent’s vegetable farm for a weekend away.
But when they arrive, things quickly spiral as they learn that grandma’s prize-winning pumpkins are being stolen and she wants to use Nelson’s vegetable-induced powers to find out who the culprit is. Cue lots of broccoli eating, a secret stakeout and a weekend with grandma that is like no other…
Sleepovers at grandparents’ house are always fun but they are probably nothing like the one that Nelson and his best friend Olive have. Nelson: Broccoli and Spies is a hilarious read about a boy who gets his superpower by eating something that he absolutely hates…broccoli. After his grandma reveals to him that she used to be a secret agent and forces him to eat broccoli that turns him invisible, Nelson is sent off to the pumpkin-patch to carry out a secret spy mission where he gets whisked off to a hidden base in a volcano and has to avoid rocket-wielding drones. With a fun, engaging and action-packed story from start to finish, Nelson and his antics will grab the attention of many readers and might even get little reluctant vegetable-eaters scoffing their greens.
The book is highly accessible and its smaller size is perfect for little hands. Inside, readers will find large and spaced out text, simple sentences, familiar vocabulary and plenty of amusing illustrations in bright fluorescent green - the perfect colour for a story about broccoli!
Recommended for 6+.