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Reviewed by Shrabastee Chakraborty for Readers' Favorite
Scarlett, Izzy, and Hazel were perfectly ordinary elementary school kids. When the trio wished to punish all the bad guys in the world, they did not imagine that their wish would come true in a most unusual way. As it happened, the lunch ladies passed the girls their hairnets with a secret legacy; the trio would inherit unimaginable superpowers once they donned the nets. But, there was a slight catch; their alter egos would be aged grandmas, deviating from the typical superhero images. Will the friends be happy with their new looks? Can they harness their newfound abilities to catch criminals? Will anyone take three grandmas seriously? Find out in Banjo Pickin’ Karate Kickin’ Crime Fightin’ Grandmas, written by Mike Knudson and illustrated by Vaughan Duck.
I honestly could not decide what I liked best; the hilarious antics of the three friends, the whimsical storyline, or the lively illustrations. From the first page, Knudson took us on a delightful ride. I had to laugh out loud as the trio got into trouble and invented progressively humorous solutions. The humor was evident in every aspect of the story, be it their questionable decisions or the impossible situations in which they kept finding themselves. I loved how Knudson created three unique characters who maintained their quirks even when adopting the alter egos. The illustrations were a powerful addition to the book. I loved Duck’s inclusion of the cast’s appearances at the beginning, which helped us visualize them clearly. Their expressions and poses perfectly conveyed the absurdity of the scenes. The story, albeit light in tone, nonetheless contains a message of body positivity. That the grandmas had superpowers despite their wizened appearances encourages us to look for inner strength, not superficial beauty. When the trio realizes that a lifelong friendship is a more precious gift than stylish clothes or athletic bodies, it is a profound message for readers. Banjo Pickin’ Karate Kickin’ Crime Fightin’ Grandmas is a funny yet wholesome read.