Derek Dool Supercool: Bust A Move, by Adrian Beck.
Illustrated by Scott Edgar.
Derek Dool is one of the most quirky and unique anti-heroes you will come across in middle grade fiction. Derek thinks he is completely cool and fashionable and deserving of adoration. But the reality is somewhat different.
Derek wears lime-green skin-tight pants to school and wonders why no one appreciates his fashion sense. His classmates have made a rule that if one of them should hit Derek on the head while playing handball, then that kid automatically wins the game. So, really, Derek is far from cool. However, he remains undeterred, and wonders how he can bring forth his inner awesomeness.
Then, finally, a challenge is thrown his way: can he out-dance his nemesis, the smoother-than-satin Cruz, at the school disco? Will he finally get a chance to show everyone how amazingly talented and cool he really is? Young readers will want to keep reading to see what happens as the disco approaches, and will laugh their way through this fast-paced engaging book.
While this book sparkles with humour and bad dad jokes and hilarious asides, the astute reader will also enjoy the more subtle messages which manage to shine through – such as the value of being a true friend, being brave, and embracing your identity (even if that identity is super weird!)
I totally loved Derek’s two friends Big Denise and Booger, who not only serve as Derek’s loyal support crew, but have their own secret passions and talents. Big Denise is a fantastic character who is smart, mild-mannered, and keeps Derek centred – but also gets her chance to shine towards the end of the book. I’d love to see how Big Denise develops in the follow-up Derek Dool books!
I also really enjoyed the ‘bonus chapters’ which give us insights into Derek’s friends – such as how Booger got his name.
The book is visually appealing, with easy-to-read text font, and Scott Edgar’s quirky black and white illustrations break up the text, adding warmth and humour.
Derek Dool Supercool is a fabulous funny read which will engage readers aged 8 upwards, and is suitable to be shared with younger readers too.