Docter Noel Zone Presents Danger is Everywhere by David O’Doherty is a handbook, both for avoiding danger and teaching you how to be a Dangerologist (level one).
Noel Zone (the Docter is deliberately mis-spelled, as explained in the book), is the brainchild of David O’Doherty. Noel is a man who worries a lot about danger, and is always prepared for the worst. The handbook takes you through the dangers of your every day life. It teaches you both how to avoid them, and if you can’t avoid them, what to do to extricate yourself from danger as speedily as possible.
You will learn about a plethora of dangerous animals, including the Toothbrush Snake, the Piano Walrus, and a giant octopus who can disguise itself as a post box, the Postboctopus.
You will learn how to make toast safely, how to avoid danger in playgrounds, how to host a party without burning yourself alive, and how to love cabbages a lot.
The book is very, very silly. It has elements that work perfectly for grown ups to laugh at, like Noel’s close brushes with the law when he tries to make his neighbours’ gardens safe, or his unrequited love for Gretel who runs the Cabbage Cabin shop. It also has entertains children beautifully throughout, whether it be with the joke of the Page Nine Scorpion (see page nine), or the page with a calming picture on it to see you through the most dangerous parts of the text.
Oscar, my son, has been reading this at school and has whizzed through it in no time. He has thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and has practised elements of dangerology as well as taking the dangerologist exam at the back of the book. He has annoyed every member of the family by reading out big swathes of text, and repeatedly showing us the funny bits, so it is safe to say it has been a triumph.
The book is reasonably tricky to read out loud, as there are a huge number of acronyms in the text. We worked round these, but children who are not confident readers might struggle a little. On the other hand it is a perfect transitional reader or chapter book. There are lots of illustrations and plenty of white space in relation to text. The book is broken up into incredibly easy to manage chunks and there’s lots of interaction with the book you can do. The font size can be a little small in places, which might prove challenging, but the content is so well suited to boys and girls aged 6-10 that they will probably make the extra effort required because they love the book. It is perfect for reluctant readers and also readers who prefer non-fiction, but who need encouraging into fiction.
We are hoping for a sequel.