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Freddy vs School

Authored by Neill Cameron
Illustrated by Neill Cameron
Published by David Fickling Books

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In futurist London, sentient robots Freddy and Alex Sharma have been sent to a school full of humans by their robotics scientist mum. Alex decides to keep his head down, to blend in and to be less different. Freddy, on the other hand, is keen to show off his awesome robotic abilities. But after a few too many accidents resulting in destruction of school property, the headteacher bans all use of superhuman robotic abilities on school grounds: no super-strength, no lasers and no rocket boosters. Freddy is frustrated! He tries his best to stick to the code of conduct, but it doesn’t go too well. His competitive streak leads him to participate in a dare-off death match with best buddy, Fernando, and his compulsion to help fight injustice means he just has to save the new kid from the school bully. Both episodes mean the code is forgotten and Freddy lands himself in even more hot water. Can he avoid getting expelled, or is this the end of the school road for Freddy?

Freddy vs School is a fun read that will make you laugh out loud. I found myself grinning at the revolting description of the cabbage custard curry consumed in the dare-off deathmatch and at Freddy’s thoughts on how ‘amazingly disgusting’ it is that humans can do the ‘super disgusting magic trick’ of pooping each day. Beyond the humour is an inclusive and well-told narrative about friendships and fitting in. Through Freddy’s falling out and reconnection with his best friend, you see how his character matures and takes responsibility for his actions whilst still being proud of what makes him unique.

Although Freddy vs School is over 200 pages, there are comic-style black-and-white drawings on every page. This book would suit children aged 8 years and above, and especially appeal to Wimpy Kid fans.

Shortlisted for the Lollies 2023 Book Award Fiction for 9-12 Category