Book Review: Flea and Spikey by Pieter Koolwijk, Linde Faas

Flea and Spikey is a children's book written by Pieter Koolwijk and illustrated Linde Faas. Meet Floyd, otherwise known as Flea. He's not so brave, rather small, and constantly being hassled by Arnold the bully. His life isn’t very exciting until a new student joins his class. A petite girl with colorful clothes.  Spikey is not afraid of anything. She isn’t even afraid of Arnold, and she takes Floyd under her wing. Slowly but surely Floyd discovers that life isn’t as ordinary as he thought. Spikey shares a big secret with him and Arnold turns out to have a voodoo mother. When Arnold discovers that Floyd knows, Floyd lands in big trouble. How will Flea and Spikey escape the wrath of Arnold and the machinations of his mother? And how will Floyd come to terms with his pesky nickname?

Flea and Spikey is a great example of characters that are real, and more than a little unreal. Floyd, or Flea, is a boy that you might be able to find in any school. He is small and picked on, not because he is exceedingly different but because of the nature of childhood bullies. Flea just wants to keep his head down and go unnoticed- but that is not working. When Spikey joins the class Flea is both scared and in awe of her fearlessness. She embraces the parts about her that others might consider weird, or tease her about, and just rolls with the punches. Her strange family and the oddities that Flea discovers about life make the adventure exciting, with some humor and wonderful lessons about embracing what makes you you, and ignoring those that might want to put you down in order to feel better about themselves.

Flea and Spikey is a children's chapter book that will appeal to those transitioning to chapter books through middle grade readers. The characters are both wacky and relatable and deal with fantastical problems along side those most children see on a daily basis. A good book for opening conversations about bullying, being different, and being yourself.
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