Books & Literature

Book Review: Nelson 2: Broccoli and Spies, by Andrew Levins

JUNIOR FICTION: Another outrageous adventures of Nelson, the boy who hates vegetables, featuring a serious spy mystery and an epic broccoli-fuelled battle!

A spy story for the younger reader full of vegetables, superpowers and fun.

Andrew Levins has been a DJ and food writer for as long as he can remember. He then ran a successful restaurant, had two children, and released a cookbook. He has now turned to writing books for children. Broccoli and Spies is the second book in his Nelson series for primary school readers.

Nelson has discovered, much to his disgust, that vegetables are the reason for his super powers. Unfortunately, he dislikes vegetables INTENSELY!! But he is surrounded by family and friends who all love them. His grandparents even have a vegetable farm! Nelson needs to get to the bottom of why he reacts to vegetables in this way, and so a trip with his best friend Olive to visit his grandparents farm will hopefully shed light on these strange abilities. But when he arrives, he discovers mysterious flying machines, disappearing pumpkins, his tap-dancing grandfather and way too much broccoli for his liking!

Before long, Nelson is caught up in mystery and intrigue as he attempts to help his grandparents save their pumpkins.

Black and white illustrations (with occasional broccoli green highlights!) by Katie Kear are fun and make a perfect addition to the text. Every now and then there is a double page spread completely in bright green which makes an unexpected surprise as you turn the page.

Nelson is thrust into the world of spies and needs to step up and be brave enough to save his family and friends, but he also needs to eat the most dreaded of all things: BROCCOLI!!

Written as a chapter book (nineteen in all) it is ideal for the younger reader who has moved from picture books to simple novels. Nelson 2: Broccoli and Spies is a fast-paced story written with humour.

Levins’ first book Pumpkins and Aliens had an orange front cover and highlights. Broccoli and Spies is green. A set of colourful books, each one representing a vegetable, would be a fun collection for the early reader who enjoys a bit of silliness and great writing.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Released: January 2021
RRP: $12.99

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