Anh Do (text), Jules Faber (illus.), Totally Weird (WeirDo #5), Scholastic Australia, 1 Oct 2015, 160pp., $14.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9781760155346
New kid at school Hans Some is, as his name dictates, totally and freakishly perfect. Clothes, hair, teeth, handwriting – all immaculate. He speaks an odd shorthand of LOLs and BFFs which Weir has never heard before but all the kids adore Hans or want to be him and Weir Do is no exception. When Weir tries out the new language (and a new wardrobe) at home, he quickly realises that actually laughing is more fun than lol’ing and being who he is feels far more comfortable. As the class depart for school camp, Weir and Hans find themselves as opposing team captains. Can team work and good old-fashioned fun triumph over apparent perfection? Follow the teams through the ups and downs of their 5 challenge contest to find out.
As the fifth book in the series, Totally Weird uses a tried and tested format that delivers on readability, laughs and relevance. Text and cartoon-style pictures complement each other perfectly to tell the story, and offer loads of support to struggling readers. It is well paced, and provides enough detail to be engaging without overloading readers with masses of text.
Ahn Do’s style of storytelling with an underlying hint of self-deprecation offers a uniquely Australian take on the school camp experience, and the overstated character names are more of a premise than a lynchpin for the plot.
This book isn’t complex, surprising or dramatically challenging. That isn’t the point here. But what it is – quirky, fun and great entertainment for primary school students in a structure that is award-winning and reliable – is absolutely great!
If you’ve loved the others, this is a ‘must add’ to your collection.
Reviewed by Katie Bingham