Epic Hero Flop

Hodder. (Planet Omar: Bk. 4). Jul. 2022. 208p. pap. $10.71. ISBN 9781444960983.
Gr 2-5–Omar, a Pakistani British Muslim boy, loves to help people—sometimes too much. He’s been through a lot in the three preceding installments in the “Planet Omar” series, but now he finds himself in a web of his own making. On multiple occasions, when his friends are on the brink of getting into trouble in school, Omar swoops in and takes the blame instead. He loves the attention he gets from his peers for doing so and feels like a hero. But when the school principal accuses him of goo-ifying the school pond and it isn’t his fault, can he find out what really happened? This installment sees the return of a number of classic “Planet Omar” characters in this tried-and-true series. The mystery surrounding the school pond pushes the story forward and the final reveal ties several plot threads together nicely. Omar’s simultaneous lessons on mindfulness are timely and relevant, considering the recent inclusion of mindfulness practices in many school curricula, and can help readers on their own journeys. Fun art from series illustrator Cheng serves to jazz up the text and make it friendlier for developing readers.
VERDICT A delightful, relevant addition to a very strong series.

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