Book Title: Fire Boy (available here)
Author: JM Joseph
Illustrator: Samuel Perrett
Publication Date: March 2020
Most Suitable for: Years 4-6
Aiden Sweeney has received a mysterious parcel from Peru with his name on it, labelled ‘Top Secret’. Inside is a jar of Nature’s Own peppermint sweets, which he and his friends, Hussein and Sadie can’t quite resist. Having each eaten one, the friends discover that life will never be the same again – as they suddenly have extraordinary superpowers! Aiden becomes Fireboy and soon realises that keeping his ability secret from everyone else is not easy, especially his squinty-eyed Granny who doesn’t miss a trick. It’s not long before an embarrassing episode during the school assembly brings him to the attention of school bully, Mitchell Mulch.
One afternoon, having been let out of school early, Aiden’s curiosity is awoken when he comes across Zarathustra’s Travelling Circus on his route home. Here, Aiden meets a fortune teller who predicts that he is destined to join them and who seems to already know about the fire within him and believe him to be the answer to all their problems. Unfortunately, there’s trouble and danger ahead. Ash Aitken has arrived and will stop at nothing until he has the supercharged sweets in his hands to sell for millions.
Will Aiden ever rid himself of Mitchell the bully? Will he be the answer to the circus’s ailing fortunes? Will Aiden’s friends be there for him when his life is in danger?
JM Joseph’s debut novel is a wonderful mix of an action-packed superhero story with its evil villain and a slapstick comedy with real laugh out loud moments. Aiden and his friends have real warmth about them and their friendship is at the heart of this story. The character of Aiden’s Granny is a larger-than-life comic addition to the story. Think Eoin Colfer’s librarian Spud Murphy mixed with Roald Dahl’s Grandma in George’s Marvellous Medicine and you’ve got a cantankerous, slightly unhinged character to add to Aiden’s troubles. Great fun!
There’s already a new blazing adventure planned for Aiden and his friends and I don’t doubt children will be asking for more after reading Fire Boy.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to our Review Panel member for reviewing.
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