Whippersnapper by Felice Arena.
Penguin, Australia 2011.
Whippersnapper is the story of 14 year old Gus, basketball player and nice guy, who is involved in a strange accident which sees him switching bodies with 71 year old George. This Freaky Friday-style plot is hardly new, and with its basketball theme, Whippersnapper is very reminiscent of the Zac Effron movie 17 Again. However, the familiarity of the plot will make this book very accessible to younger readers, particularly reluctant readers.
At 180 pages this is a fairly easy read for upper primary and lower secondary students. Gus is a likeable character who suffers the obvious struggles any teenage boy would have with being an old man, choice of fashion being just one issue. The basketball competition provides an exciting backdrop to the plot, creating excitement and suspense.
Despite the lack of originality in the plot, Whippersnapper is an extremely enjoyable read. I laughed out loud in the scene where Gus (as George) realises he has to go to bed with his 70 year old wife Doris.
Felice Arena is the author of the very popular Specky Magee series. In Whippersnapper he delivers another fun, humorous and easy-to-read book which will be enjoyed by both boys and girls.