The Dastardly Duo by Burhana Islam, illustrated by Farah Khandaker

Publication Date: 17 March 2022

The Blurb

Yusuf has messed up big time… AGAIN. He needs to defend his family’s honour.
What better way to do that than by running for class president?
Expect more chaotic mishaps, more mayhem, and even more laughter!

The Review

Following on from Mayhem Mission, The Dastardly Duo is, as the series is titled, Laugh-Out-Loud! Sharp humour, plenty of slapstick and pockets packed with snacks are combined in this mad-cap story to regain lost honour.

We re-join Yusuf at the mosque, by the buffet table (naturally), regaling his friends and family with scary stories, until the scariest story of all walks into the room. The ensuing food fight ends in disaster and shame for Yusuf. When the role of Form Captain is announced, Yusuf goes head to head with his nemesis to save 5B from a reign of terror under Bashir the Basher.

I love Yusuf and his friends. Funny, smart, and mostly loyal, they help plan his campaign and plot his course to victory. The way they spark off each other leads to effortless jokes, especially Yusuf’s asides. Sairah isn’t quite so loyal as she sees the election as fantastic fodder for The 5B Times, and goes all out to put headlines before truth, before realising that scandalous gossip doesn’t make for a good journalist, a lesson many of our papers would do well to learn.

Yusuf’s home life is slightly quieter, and a lot safer for him, without Affa, but Nanu is still just as precise when wielding her walking stick. A formidable lady, her advice is best heeded, but not always the kind a nine year old finds helpful, especially when they come with a soothing moth-ball backrub!

Once again, Burhana has written a brilliantly funny story that has left me hungry for samosas and jalebi, and with a deeper understanding of Bengali culture and Islamic customs. Farah’s warm and witty illustrations add an extra layer of humour to this hilarious tale bringing the chaos of 5B to life.

Great for fans of:

  • Planet Omar by Zanib Mian, illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik
  • Little Badman by Humza Arshad and Henry White, illustrated by Aleksei Bitskoff
  • Stuntboy, In The Meantime by Jason Reynolds

Huge thanks to Knights Of for sending me a copy.


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