Jason Mason and the World’s Most Powerful Itching Powder
Jason Gunn's intended audience appears to be readers who want a New Zealand version of Tom Gates or Wimpy Kids books, with fewer line illustrations but plenty of action and humour too. The storyline is of a normal Kiwi kid becoming a secret agent and many students will readily relate to New Zealand landmarks and icons such as The Beehive, Mount Victoria Tunnel, Te Papa, Eden Park Stadium, moa and Mr. Whippy ice cream.
It is interesting that the author can write a book involving bare bottoms and a nearly naked man running across a rugby field and yet include sophisticated words which he sometimes explains (such as 'rudiments' and 'heinous villainy’) and sometimes leaves it up to the reader to discover (refractive index, wavelength, oscillation and molecule). He also mentions using an online thesaurus himself, thus promoting this tool also.
Readers will be excited by the idea of an undercover ice cream van, a secret room, the ability to be invisible (but only for 58 seconds!) and a teacher also being a secret agent.
Bullying features too, and one character states that "... you don't need to be the biggest to win the fight . . . You just have to think smart." This recurring theme is evident throughout.
Students who enjoy this book will be pleased to know that the series is intended to grow.
Title: Jason Mason and the World’s Most Powerful Itching Powder
Author: Jason Gunn and Andrew Gunn
Illustrator: Cheryl Smith
Publisher: David Bateman Ltd
Date of Publication: October 2022
Ages: 7-10 years
Themes: Bullying, humour, secret agent
Do you have any advisory warnings for this book? Do not read this book if you do not like line drawings of bare bottoms, a man running around with just his underpants on or words such as ‘butt’ and ‘poo’.
Would this book work as a read aloud? It would, but the audience are also likely to want to see the illustrations too.
Is there a particular part of the country that it’s set in? Wellington and Auckland
Reviewer: Nadine Molloy, Library Assistant, Remarkables Primary School, Queenstown, Otago
How are you recommending this book? Recommended
What’s the book’s opening sentence? Welcome to my book. I hope you enjoy it.
You can buy this book here.