James Hart, Super Geeks: Fish and Chips (Book #1), Penguin Random House Australia, March 2021, 208 pp., RRP $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781760895129
Zeek and Arnie are best friends. They do all their favourite things together – gaming, coding, inventing; that’s why they’re the SUPER GEEKS! But when Zeek comes up with a plan to become Supreme Ruler of the world, he puts their friendship to the test. To make his plan work, he’ll need two things; the super-powerful micro-processing chip that Arnie built and Arnie’s beloved pet goldfish Eleanor.
When Zeek uses the chip to turn Eleanor into his computerised assistant, he accidentally gives Eleanor superintelligence. Now, Eleanor thinks she’d make a better Supreme Ruler of the world! What follows is a hilarious, zany series of events that sees Zeek and Arnie try and stop Operation Fish and Chips before Eleanor and her goldfish army destroy humankind.
In his authorial debut, illustrator James Hart creates this fun, action-packed graphic novel for early readers. Zeek and Arnie are well-rounded characters; Hart has developed them beautifully. Readers know immediately that Zeek is in charge but travel with him as he learns to listen to his friend. This is an excellent message about the makings of true friendship for early readers – just like Zeek and Arnie, friends work best as a team.
Hart’s illustrations are overwhelmingly the best part of this novel which is packed with plenty of comedy. These boys are unbelievably expressive; their voices practically leap off the page! For parents and teachers reading this book aloud to children, there’s a lot of fun to be had.
The text is easy to follow through the combination of speech bubbles and narration in picture book style, making Super Geeks an easy transition to chapter books for early readers. It has a relatively low word-to-picture ratio which will appeal to young or reluctant readers.
Super Geeks has everything – two flamboyant inventors in the lead, a deceptively simple but brilliant plot, and the naughtiest villain that ever there was. Perfect for fans of Real Pigeons, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Dog Man, Zeek and Arnie’s adventures in Super Geeks: Fish and Chips will enchant. As the first in a series, there’s plenty more fun to be had. It is perfect for kids as young as five but entertaining for older readers (and their parents!).
Reviewed by Geni Kuckhahn