Stuff Happens: Ned by Andrew Daddo
Published by Penguin Books Australia
As one in a series of books written by different authors, this story of year-five school boy, Ned, by Andrew Daddo, captures the essence of tween-hood brilliantly.
In ten short and intense chapters, Ned struggles to find his place in his new class for the year. With a mixture of kids who are not his friends, a teacher who he has always disliked, and constant comparisons to his 'perfect', high-achieving older siblings, it's no wonder Ned is feeling unworthy. Middle to upper primary kids will relish the cracking humour, and could certainly relate to such themes as anxiety, self-identity and trying prove their value.
Ned is not normally a trouble-maker, but an unintended rude remark to his teacher Ms Lucus and an impetuous devouring of her cheeseburger sees Ned in the principal's office twice in the first week of the school year. Upon prompting of his heedless behaviours, Ned finally confesses that the pressure of living up to everyone's expectations is too much - he just wants to be able to be himself. In the end, Ned channels his cheeky thoughts into something much more worthwhile - he writes a hilarious, creative story that even his bombastic teacher loves.
'Ned' has plenty of comical moments and age-appropriate language to keep its readers turning the pages to the end. The book cleverly grasps an emotional depth that comes with facing these everyday challenges, and the cute face emoticons at the end of each chapter help to sum up those feelings perfectly. A recommended series for readers, particularly boys, between 7 and 11.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Andrew Daddo
Title: Stuff Happens: Ned
Publisher: Penguin Books
Published: July 2014