Thursday, April 5, 2012

Make Way for the Middle-Grades! (1)

Since Thursday is my school librarian hat-wearing day (and no, I don't mean that literally), I thought it'd be nice if I started a meme based around the unsung hero of genres. As I said before, I am a sucker for a good middle-grade - after all, isn't it in the children's section that you'll find Narnia? And Hogwarts? And the eye candy sort of titles, the titles that you know would've made you plop right down in the middle of the aisle and start making pages as a kid.

Because that's what we all are at heart when we read YA and MG books. We're children*, still tumbling face-first into another grand adventure.

*Figuratively. Kaye will not be held responsible for ripped jumpers (or being caught in a jumper that you've outgrown centuries ago), owwies or boo-boos of any sort, and paper cuts. You are as old as you believe, but let's keep that belief to a sane level, yeah?

Cold Cereal 
Adam Rex
Balzer + Bray, 2012

Cold Cereal Facts 

Serving size   1 chapter     Number of servings   40

Primary human characters - 3 

Scottish Play Doe, aka Scott  - possible changeling 
Erno Utz - genius 
Emily Utz - supergenius 

Magical creatures - at least 3 

Mick Leprechaun (or Clurichaun)
Harvey Pooka (rabbit-man)
Biggs indeterminate origin (hairy, large) 

Evil organizations 1 

Goodco Cereal Company - Purveyor of breakfast foods aspiring to world domination 

Adventure 75%
Diabolical Schemes 40%
Danger 57%
Legend 20%
Magic 68%
Humor 93%
Puzzles 35%
Mystery 49%

Not a significant source of vampires.

May contain nuts.

Daily values based on individual interest. Reader's estimation of value may be higher or lower, depending on your tolerance for this sort of thing.

My ten-year-old brother actually recommended this title to me. After I recovered from the shock - and teensy bit of bruised pride (hey, who's the book blogger here?) - I decided to give it a fair try.

This fair try might have or have not been biased by blurbs from certain authors of Immense Size and Great Admiration - Jonathan Stroud, Eoin Colfer and Bruce Coville, oh my!

I'm like 50% done with it (perhaps a bit premature to start the promo parade, but, hey, you don't have to eat the whole sandwich to know how it tastes) and believe me, I know I'm going to fill the cavities afterward. Adam Rex plays up all the mystery that surrounds the inner workings of a cereal company (along with caricaturing some familiar characters...hey, Lucky, is that you?) - myths you've probably already had a taste of mixed with some shady corporate intrigue, and coming together with just the right pinch of humor.

Hey. It's a book based around cereal. I can use food allusions if I want to.

If that isn't enough to get you to give this a closer look:

[Scott] steered toward the local park, down the storm drain shortcut he'd discovered yesterday, dodging broken glass and a man with a rabbit head, up the embankment...and was that a man with a rabbit head? Scott braked hard...The rabbit-man stopped, too, and looked back. His tweed pants and white dress shirt were creased and dirty. His necktie was askew. His rabbit head was a rabbit head.

"Hey! Kid! Thtop! Thtay there!" In an instant, he had a five-foot-tall rabbit-man all up in his face.

"You've got to help me! They're coming! I don't want to go back! I don't want to go back!"

When [Scott] finally inhaled, he smelled sweater and cookies.

"You're not real," he said softly, closing his eyes. "You're imaginary."

And sure enough, when Scott opened his eyes, the rabbit-man was gone.
Well, that's not the end of it (I had to pinch myself really hard to keep from adding more, and more, and more because gah, that isn't even the half of it). Really, I am so bad at giving teasers.

So I've given you a taste. You think you want more?

Take it home and have it for breakfast. "There's a little bit of magic in every box."


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