Books & Literature

Book Review: Super Geeks: Planet Pancake, by James Hart

JUNIOR FICTION: Zeek and Arnie are back in another hilarious action-packed adventure featuring pirates, pancakes and the edge of the world . . .

A fun graphic novel for children with a sense of humour who love to invent.

Melbourne-based illustrator James Hart has been responsible for toy designs, animations, and the comic illustrations of many books, including the series, You ChooseMr Bambuckle’s Remarkables, and The Day My Butt Went Psycho!

Super Geeks: Planet Pancake is the second in his own series where he is both author and illustrator. 

It is the story of Zeek and Arnie, two best friends who do everything together. In Super Geeks: Planet Pancake, they are still on their quest for world domination. This time, they find out about treasure at the edge of the world, so they decide to investigate. This treasure will definitely help them with their quest. But first they need to build a vessel. Both Zeek and Arnie love to invent new things, and finding useful junk at the local junkyard is a thrill, except it is owned by the father of Baxter, the school bully. 

They are also joined by their brain-muddled goldfish Eleanor. Eleanor is wonderful and adorably funny.

This story is both fun and action-packed and those children who enjoy reading a graphic novel rather than lots of text will find it a perfect blend of both: a mixture of speech bubbles and paragraphs. 

The illustrations are detailed and an integral part of the story. They almost jump off the page and the characters seem larger than life. There is also the occasional diagram. These detailed illustrations make it easier for the newly independent readers to enjoy. It is obvious that Zeek is the one who makes the decisions and Arnie often just goes along for the ride (Arnie also loves to cook). 

Super Geeks: Planet Pancake is fast-paced and slightly crazy with a few jokes for adults thrown in along the way. However, it is not deep and meaningful and even though there were opportunities to add some, there are really no lessons to be learned along the way (How can two children leave home by themselves and set off for the end of the world?). It is nice that the parents are not stereotyped. The mum wears overalls and is seen fixing the car and the slightly nonplussed dad plays bagpipes. 

Super Geeks: Planet Pancake is a stand-alone book, but reading Super Geeks: Fish and Chips first would give context to Eleanor and her muddled condition.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Released: 2 July 2021
RRP: $14.99

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