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I thought that Kid Normal and the Shadow Machine was gripping and incredibly interesting. The writing makes you laugh. Kid Normal and the Shadow Machine is about a boy named Murf Cooper who is torn between two worlds: the Super Hero world with the Super Zeros, his best friends, and the world with his family which soon gets shattered with the help of Magpie.

I really like the illustrations in Kid Normal and the Shadow Machine because they help tell the story. I also like the characters, including Angel and the Super Zeros. The authors are funny and write with emotion and make you want to read the book. For example, on page 305 in the most intense part of the story, out of nowhere, the authors surprise you with a silly story.

What I didn’t like about Kid Normal and the Shadow Machine was that it didn’t have the best first chapter, and it didn’t explain the characters’ backstories very well. It was also confusing at first, but at the time, I didn't know it was the third book in the series. I would recommend that before you read Kid Normal and the Shadow Machine you read Kid Normal (book one), and Kid Normal and the Rogue Heroes (book two in the Kid Normal series). I liked this book so much I went back to read book one and book two.

I would recommend Kid Normal and the Shadow Machine to people who like Harry Potter. Kid Normal is a lot like Harry in many ways. Magpie, one of the stories' many villains, is also similar to Voldemort. I love how everyone in the story has a huge role and a big personality. I also thought that the plot was sweet and suspenseful, and I love how every moment that you read the book it draws you into the story. The authors use a style in which the characters talk directly to the reader. I would recommend this to anyone who loves action and adventure novels. The Super Zeros show courage and leadership through teamwork, and together go against all odds.

I thought overall Kid Normal and the Shadow Machine was an interesting, action packed adventure novel filled with laughs and suspense. This was a great book, and one that kids of any age should read.

“No!” screamed Magpie’s voice. “Get out of my head! Get out of my machine!”

“It's not your machine any more,” said Kid Normal calmly. “It's mine.”

Kid Normal and the Shadow Machine by Chris Smith and Greg James, illustrated by Erica Salcedo. Published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2019. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!


Reader Interactions


  1. A nice review that also illustrates the wonderful things reading can do: help you relate characters from different books to each other, help you figure out what you didn’t understand at first, and encourage further reading! This was a job well done!

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