“Kid Normal” by Greg James and Chris Smith is a wonderful illustrated novel that is sure to attract readers. Kicking off the start of a series, it is packed with action and humor. It shows how something good can often come out of something bad. The characters are passionate and will not give up. This book proves what working together can accomplish.
Murph is really mad. He had to move from his school to a new place because his mom lost her job. Again. However, his mom cannot find him a school that will let him in. It is not like there is anything wrong with him — Murph has decent grades, and he’s a good kid. It’s just that no schools have any space for him. And to top it off, Murph is annoyed because his mean older brother, who always makes fun of him, is already at the local high school.
One afternoon, Murph and his mom see a strong-looking man in a suit locking up a gate to a school called “The School.” They go over and talk to him, but unfortunately he says that his school has no space open. Murph’s mom begs the man and says that with his help, Murph would be “flying,” which of course she means figuratively. Unfortunately, this man takes it literally.
Once Murph starts at this school, everything is weird. All the kids and teachers seem to have some sort of superpower. Once the teacher introduces him and asks what his Cape — also known as his Capability — is, he slowly tells then that he does not have one. The man they had seen a few afternoons ago, Mr. Souperman, who is the principal, is notified right away. He realizes he has made a big mistake, but he decides he will let Murph stay.
Murph starts making friends: Mary, who can fly; Billy, who can inflate body parts like a balloon; Nellie, who can control the weather; and Hilda, who can produce two tiny horses from thin air (some people have useless Capes). However, things get weirder. Suddenly, people notice a lot of wasps around town. Soon a giant wasp-man attacks the school and holds people as prisoners. It looks like the Super Zeroes (what some bullies had started calling Murph and his group of friends) are going to have to save their school!
This is a great book for 4th and 5th graders, and it is also great for 3rd graders starting to read more difficult chapter books. If you are looking for something funny and exciting, “Kid Normal” should be your first choice. It has pictures every few pages. In your mind, you can slowly picture every moment of this action-packed story.
“Kid Normal” shows that you do not need to have a superpower to make a difference in the world and help your friends. James and Smith show throughout the book that Murph and other characters have to stand up for themselves, even if they are having a bad day. They are also very modest, and that can teach us a lesson. It’s important not to brag.
Most importantly: Everyone can be a hero.
Reviewed by Jamie L.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by the publisher, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, for review purposes.