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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Jason Mason and the Flightless Bird Fiasco by Jason and Andrew Gunn

Jason Mason was just an average kid trying to make it through school each day, and not be picked on by the class bully, when he was invited to take over from his Great Uncle Bill as a secret agent.

Jason and Agent Rātana return in the second in the Jason Mason series. This time they have been deployed to solve a mystery of a giant moa that has been seen prowling the streets of Palmerston North. They soon realise the massive flightless bird might put New Zealand's first space flight at risk.

Like the first in the series, this is an action-packed, fast-paced read by brothers Jason and Andrew Gunn. Anyone who has seen Jason on television knows his personality and energy, and with brother Andrew - himself a writer of feature films and many shows - the pair form a dynamic and hilarious duo.

It is filled to the brim with New Zealand humour and references, as well as plenty of toilet humour (the villain is called Hugh Jarse for a start). Readers will get swept up in the story, which cracks along at a blistering pace.

The book is really visually appealing for reluctant readers - short, snappy chapters, different fonts and sizes, and lots of illustrations will draw in readers and make them stick around. It will also make a wonderful read-aloud for caregivers, who won't be able to get through the book without at least a grin.

The character of Jason will also delight. While he's a secret agent, an invisible one to boot, he's also relatable. He gets picked on, he worries, and he isn't the smartest or sportiest, he's just an average Kiwi kid.

While it is the second in the series, the book can be read as a standalone as there's a quick recap to begin. But readers are shortchanging themselves and missing out on lots of fun and excitement by skipping the first.

Jason Mason and the Flightless Bird Fiasco is a wonderfully silly, action-packed story with a relatable hero Kiwi kids will love.

Reviewer: Rebekah Lyell

Bateman Books


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