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Nicholas and the Wild Ones ISBN: 9781847806178
Daly, Niki
Published by Frances Lincoln Childrens Books, 2016
There are four 'wild ones' in Nicholas's new class, and his first day has been hard because of them. He tells Mum all about them on the way home. There is Charlie, who jumps on people, Reggie, who performs 'wedgies' on his victims (this is yanking them up by their underpants), Jake, who snatches other people's food, and Cindy, who is big and pushes people over. After their teacher reads the class a book about their rights, Nicholas decides that the answer is to stop going to school. Dad says he must show the bullies he isn't afraid, and Granps tells him to put his fists up. Gran and Mum are more conciliatory, though, and tell Nicholas that he will be able to find his own, creative way of dealing with the problem. Back at school the next day, three of the four wild ones are as awful as ever, and this time it is Nicholas who gets all their attention. The fourth one, though, Cindy, who has begun to feel bullied by the other three and whom Nicholas has been kind to, asks if she can come play with him at home. This is the start of friendship, and when he teaches her how to make his invention of a solar-powered helicopter, all the other children want to learn how as well. This keeps the 'wild ones' busy and happy, and even though they sometimes must be wild again, the situation is transformed. Nicholas, who wants to be an inventor, invents a 'wild one converter' for the times when the wild ones are difficult, and he has learned that if your treat hard-to-love people as friends, they will often respond as friends. The illustrations are full of humour and fun, even though the subject is anything but, and this approach lightens the atmosphere, It is Nicholas himself who comes up with the answer, and as he does so, we feel that he will grow up be an understander of people's feelings as well as an inventor of wacky machines. Super stuff!
Age: 5+