“Born to be Naughty” by Hina Nauman

Okay, this one’s different. A look at the Contents should tip you off. It starts with a Warning, requiring you to prove your eligibility to read the book by taking a “Love for Nature” test. It would be a spoiler, so I’m not going to tell you anything about the test except that this is an “Easy A” situation. She even gives you online addresses for several platforms where you can interact and tells you what to do if you don’t have internet access. This author thinks of everything.

Or maybe I should say, this character thinks of everything, because right from the start this is an in-your-face first-person story. Hanna, the main character, breaks the fourth wall constantly, commenting to the reader, laughing with and at the reader and even taunting the reader (She was born to be naughty, remember).

Hanna is a character of extremes. She laughs loudly, makes animal noises, and describes everything (especially herself) with strings of adjectives and more exclamation marks than any book I have ever seen.

Nevertheless, there is a serious side to her, which gives her empathy. The theme of the story is that humans are guardians of nature, and her life is an example.  The serious part of the book involves her taking care of a baby sparrow, which isn’t as easy as she wishes it to be. So even when she’s serious, she’s funny.

And the rest of the book is taken up by her most nefarious piece of naughtiness, a rather farfetched but creative prank involving some cartoonish members of her extended family. This is written in a less realistic style and may appeal to younger readers more than this adult reviewer.

I found Hanna to be an engaging character, and since the book is 100% about her, this is important. However, I found her a bit too full of her own importance, which may be realistic but does not endear her to me completely.

In general, this is an interesting experiment in what could be a new genre of children’s literature, a book/internet hybrid between a blog and a novel.

Recommended for tech-savvy children ages 7 to 12.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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