Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book Review: Cold Cereal by Adam Rex

COLD CEREAL
written by Adam Rex
Baltzer + Bray, 2012
ISBN13: 9780062060020
432 p.
Grades 3-6
Reviewed from ebook provided by publisher through NetGalley.

BLURB
Cold Cereal Facts Serving size 1 chapter Number of servings 40
Primary human characters: 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.
It's taken me a while to get this review written up, primarily because I'm not completely sure what to make of this book.  If I had to describe it in one word it would be: odd.  This book is very odd.  To be sure it has adventure and humor and continuously pokes fun at the role that advertising and big corporations play in the lives of children.  I am not particularly a big fan of odd books, but at the same time, Rex pulled me into the story enough that I wanted to finish it.  And I will definitely be reading the sequels (this is the first book in a trilogy).  Despite the oddness of the book, I found myself getting attached to some of the characters, Scott (with the unusual name who is convinced that his migraines make him hallucinate and see strange things like a rabbit-man or a leprechaun who claims to be a clurichaun), Emily (a genius with a serious lack of social skills), and Erno (who never seems to live up to his sisters' genius, but has great social skills). Other characters made me chuckle and roll my eyes, like Mike the Leprechaun or Harvey Pooka the rabbit-man.

Plotwise this story isn't particularly believable, but I don't think it's supposed to be.  The fun thing about not worrying about believability is that the author is free to take the story wherever he wants and Rex does so.  The strange twists and turns are almost impossible to predict which makes the story quite compelling.  I think I'm going to share this with my students just to see what they think.  I'd recommend this book to readers who enjoy a fun romp but are not particularly concerned about the story making sense.

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