The Attack of the Frozen Woodchucks

The Attack of the Frozen Woodchucks

4.1 6
by Dan Elish, Greg Call

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Frozen woodchucks are attacking the galaxy! But they're no match for Jimmy and his crew of space travelers . . . or are they?

Meet our heroes:

Jimmy Weathers
An average fifth grader living in New York City who never suspected that the fate of the world would be resting squarely on his ten-year-old shoulders.

William H. Taft V
Jimmy's best


Frozen woodchucks are attacking the galaxy! But they're no match for Jimmy and his crew of space travelers . . . or are they?

Meet our heroes:

Jimmy Weathers
An average fifth grader living in New York City who never suspected that the fate of the world would be resting squarely on his ten-year-old shoulders.

William H. Taft V
Jimmy's best friend—the great-great-great-great-nephew of the fattest man who was ever president.

Janice Claytooth
A ten-year-old rocket scientist whose bestselling book Light Speed and You has sold only one copy on earth but millions throughout the galaxy.

Imogene Weathers
A feisty two-year-old inventor with a penchant for turning the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Will this unlikely quartet discover the mastermind behind the frozen woodchuck attacks before it's too late?

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The giant woodchuck makes his first appearance before Saturday night dinner, just as ten-year-old Jimmy Weathers is setting the table. Jimmy’s father and sister have just returned from a walk in New York City’s Central Park, and they are very excited about their discovery. Jimmy and his mother look at each other with agreeing eyes. Their father is at it again with his overactive imagination. After all, Jimmy’s father is a lawyer by day and an unsuccessful children’s author by night. Who could believe this latest tale? It is all a joke, until Jimmy’s father is kidnapped in the middle of the night. It is up to Jimmy and his best pal, William H. Taft, to find his dad and the kidnapping frozen woodchucks. Young readers will love this silly but captivating mystery. The characters are well-developed and will resonate with young readers. This book is a riotous adventure with no dull moments. This is a good selection for middle school libraries. Reviewer: Sue Reichard

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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779 KB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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The Attack of the Frozen Woodchucks

Chapter One

The First Sighting

As Jimmy Weathers helped his mother set the table that Saturday evening in early April, he had no idea that the fate of mankind was about to come crashing down on his shoulders. It happened just as Jimmy was laying a fork on his father's napkin. The front door to his family's small two-bedroom apartment burst open. In ran Imogene, Jimmy's two-and-a-half-year-old sister.

"Woodchuck, Mommy!" she cried, pulling hard on Jimmy's mother's pants. "Big, giant woodchuck!"

Jimmy smiled. He and Imogene shared a small room. He was very used to what he called "Genie-speak."

Jimmy's mother scooped Imogene into her arms.

"A woodchuck? Tell Mommy where you saw it."

The girl flung her purple backpack onto the sofa. "In park!"

The boy saw the smile curling on his mother's lips. Whatever Imogene had thought she had seen, it most certainly had not been a woodchuck. With the exception of squirrels, mice, and pigeons, New York City's Central Park was not known for its wildlife. He doubted there had been a woodchuck there for a hundred years, let alone a "giant" one.

"Now, now, dear," Jimmy's mother said. "Are you sure it was a woodchuck you saw?"

Before Imogene had a chance to answer, Jimmy's father was in the room, eyes wide. He laid the day's mail on the dining-room table and began waving his arms. His whole being took on a wild, excited glow.

"The largest darned one you ever saw, Emma!"

Jimmy and his mom exchanged a smile. By day Richard Weathers was a lawyer at the firm of Weasel, Waxel &Whine—a job he hated. By night he was a frustrated children's novelist who had written an entire shelf's worth of unpublished books, often animal-themed, with titles that ranged from Chickens Who Tango to The Sloth Who Ruled Europe. One of Jimmy's favorites included a character with unusual dining habits, who began each meal with a special poem:

I eats the feets of fried raccoon—
I eats them with a three-pronged spoon.
Dinner comes, my day's complete
Chompin' on them raccoon feet.

Indeed, Jimmy and his mom—and really all of Richard Weathers's friends—were used to the ramblings of his overactive imagination. A giant woodchuck? Jimmy didn't bat an eye.

"Oh, really, Dad?" the boy said, playing along. "How big was he?"

Jimmy's father jumped up on one of the foldout chairs they used in the dining room and stretched his arms all the way to the ceiling.

"Big!" he said. "We're talking twenty, thirty feet!"

"Big, big woodchuck!" Imogene said.

Jimmy's father hopped back to the floor and kept on talking. "It was unbelievable. There I was, watching Imogene playing in the field by the playground, when all of a sudden she decides to run after a squirrel. Naturally I follow. Soon we find ourselves in woods up around 103rd Street. No one was around. That's when we saw it."

"The woodchuck?" Jimmy asked.

"No," his father said, unzipping his coat. "The giant pod!"

Jimmy's mother was serving the spaghetti by now. Pasta was a family favorite.

"Oh, of course," she said, winking at Jimmy. "Like a giant dinosaur egg, I imagine."

"Egg!" Imogene said. "Like in museum."

"Exactly," her father said, rubbing a hand through his daughter's hair. "Just like at the natural history museum." He looked back up at his wife and son. "But when this puppy hatched, it was no Stegosaurus that came out. No, not at all! The egg split, and there it stood—a three-foot-tall woodchuck—completely frozen!"

"Frozen?" Jimmy said. He had to admit he was enjoying the story, one of his father's better ones. "Why was it frozen?"

His father looked disappointed. "Jimmy! Jimmy!" he said, rubbing his son's shoulders. "Don't you remember last week's blizzard? For all we know, that egg was sitting there through the storm."

Jimmy nodded. It was true—New York City had been bombarded by a series of blizzards that winter. Still, over the last few days the weather had finally begun to warm up. It seemed that spring was on its way at last.

"And here's what I think," his father went on. "It was the warmer weather that made it happen."

"Made what happen, dear?" Emma asked.

Jimmy's father looked from his son to his wife, eyes glinting. "Made that woodchuck thaw out and grow!"

With that, Imogene jumped as high as she could, stretched her arms over her head, and shouted, "Grow and grow and grow, grow, grow!"

"All right, dear," Jimmy's mother said, scooping Imogene into her booster seat. "We get the point. Dinner, everyone."

"So what did you do then, Dad?" Jimmy asked, sitting down. "I mean, about this thirty-foot woodchuck?"

His father blinked. "Do? Why Imogene and I did what you or any sane, self-respecting person in the world would have done. First we screamed. Then we ran for it!"

"Stroller motor!" Imogene announced. "Zoom!"

Jimmy and his mother smiled. A week earlier his father and Imogene had attached a toy motor to her stroller. While the motor didn't make the stroller go any faster, it did cough up an impressive amount of dust from the city sidewalks.

"So wait a second," Jimmy said, turning to his dad. "You mean there's still a giant, possibly man-eating, woodchuck at large in Central Park? Like right across the street?"

Despite their smallish apartment, Jimmy and his family were lucky to live just off the park.

His father nodded. "That's right. I stopped a policeman on the way home, but he didn't want to hear about it."

Again Jimmy saw his mother smile, but this time there was a trace of worry. This wasn't the first time his father had come home spinning an outrageous tale. A short week earlier, his subway car had been driven by a giant purple squid; a week before that, Hank, the building's doorman, had magically transformed into a tap-dancing sea lion. In both instances Jimmy's mom had laughed along . . .

The Attack of the Frozen Woodchucks. Copyright © by Dan Elish. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. <%END%>

Meet the Author

Dan Elish is the insanely gifted author of many novels for both adults and children, including The Attack of the Frozen Woodchucks, 13 (based on the Broadway musical), and The Worldwide Dessert Contest.

When he's not busy typing furiously away on his Lap-Top (not a Gum-Top or a Hat-Top or even a Balloon-Top), you can find Dan in New York City, where he lives with his wife, Andrea, and daughter, Cassie, and son, John.

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Attack of the Frozen Woodchucks 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Attack of the Frozen Woodchucks is an incredibly imaginative, engrossing story about a group of kids in New York City who save the planet 'not to mention the Universe' from a horde of mutant woodchucks. The book also has a surprising amount of heart. Along with the wacky adventures, I cared about these kids. A great read.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Jimmy Weather's father and sister come home after a walk in Central Park with a fantastic story of finding a gigantic woodchuck that hatched from a pod. Always crafting far-fetched stories in his quest to be a published author, this kind of tale is nothing new from Jimmy's father. And his sister is only two years old. But the next morning, his father is missing, and the only clue is a whisker left in his parents' bed and the thought that something furry brushed against his mother's leg while she lay sleeping. This is the first inkling that something could be seriously wrong.

On a quest to find his missing father, Jimmy and his best friend, William, have Imogene (his baby sister) take them to the place in the park where they first encountered the woodchuck. Into deeper woods than either boy knew existed in Central Park, Imogene takes them to the mysterious empty pod. High up in the trees, they notice some paper containing their father's distinctive handwriting. So now they are sure his father has been taken. But by whom? And to where?

When the police refuse to help, the two boys enlist the aid of Janice Claytooth. Janice is the class freak who insists she's built a fully functioning spaceship. After sharing the bizarre story with Janice, she doesn't even hesitate. She shares her invention with the two boys, and they are off to outer space to search for Jimmy's father.

But the quest for Mr. Weathers turns into an evil plot to blackmail the universe. The woodchucks are sent to planets to consume the natural resources when the home planets refuse to bargain.

With surprise plot twists and evil characters, Mr. Elish creates a truly unique story of space travel. Three kids wind up undertaking the task of saving the world, when they only wanted to find Jimmy's dad. The distant planets that they travel to made me hungry (read it and you'll see why!) and the resourcefulness of the kids was fun. The book is appropriate for all ages. The illustrations by Greg Call added to the quirkiness of the story. This is definitely a book everyone can enjoy.
Tracy Custodio More than 1 year ago
Anyone with kids would enjoy this book (which includes alienss )!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
3 stars for...uh...originality
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story is about a boy that loses his dad to giant iced rodents. Then his friends and him go chase down the giant gophers in a spaceship called the fifth floor. Then they find the plot behind the entire woodchuck problem. One of his friends fathers are selling an artificial wood called plastawood. Read this book to find out more.