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The Fizzy Whiz Kid

The Fizzy Whiz Kid

4.5 15
by Maiya Williams

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Readers will laugh along with all the misadventures—and sneak a peek behind the Hollywood curtain—in this sweet and funny novel.

When Mitchell Mathis moves to Hollywood with his academic parents, he soon realizes he’s the only ordinary kid in a school of the powerful and famous. There’s Skywalker Wong, whose parents are special effects


Readers will laugh along with all the misadventures—and sneak a peek behind the Hollywood curtain—in this sweet and funny novel.

When Mitchell Mathis moves to Hollywood with his academic parents, he soon realizes he’s the only ordinary kid in a school of the powerful and famous. There’s Skywalker Wong, whose parents are special effects gurus. And Julia Jodie Schwartz, named after her agent father’s two highest-earning clients. And Dash Silverman, whose parents write the movies that everyone else seems to have memorized. In an attempt to feel like less of an outsider, Mitch goes to an open casting call, where he ends up being cast in a soda commercial that launches a popular catchphrase. Suddenly he’s on TV, signing autographs, and riding in limos. But when the ad starts getting negative attention and he doesn’t have time for his old friends and interests, fame doesn’t seem like so much fun anymore. He’ll need all his “acting” skills—and the help of his Hollywood-savvy classmates—to figure out how to go back to being a normal kid again.

Praise for the work of Maiya Williams
BookSense Pick
International Reading Association Intermediate Fiction Award
Southern California Booksellers’ Association Children’s Book Prize
“The fast-paced plot and smooth transition from everyday life to fantasy adventure make this a good choice for reluctant readers.” —School Library Journal
“Fast-paced historical hi-jinks . . .” —VOYA
“Vivid . . . deftly combines fantasy and historical fiction . . . It’s a trip well worth the time.” —New York Times Book Review
“Action-packed and laden with good-natured humor, Williams’s tale is a journey worth taking.” —Publishers Weekly

Praise for The Fizzy Whiz Kid

"Seriously committed film industry wannabes as well as erstwhile daydreamers will find a lot of good information here about how Hollywood magic gets made.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Williams’ breezy tale is as addictive and bubbly as a Fizzy Whiz itself, and her experience in the entertainment industry packs real value into her descriptions of auditions, movie sets, and agent negotiations.” —Booklist

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This effervescent comedy offers a behind-the-scenes peek at the entertainment industry through the eyes of a likable outsider, 12-year-old Mitch Mathis. Accustomed to being the new kid, Mitch violates his own cardinal rule—“DON'T STAND OUT”—when he moves to Hollywood with his parents, attends a cattle-call audition for a soda commercial, and catapults to stardom with the signature line, “You like bubbles?” Mitch, who never watches TV, hasn't seen Star Wars, and can “juggle, ride a unicycle, play piano and guitar, and [knows] sign language,” gleans industry knowledge from new, larger-than-life friends who boast actor, agent, and screenwriter parents. Mitch's recurring lists keep the pace quick and offer insight into his character (“No cockroach costumes” is at the top of his list of “Rules for Parent Presentations,” after his entomologist father makes a cringe-inducing appearance in his classroom) as well as information about the industry. Williams (The Hour of the Outlaw) spotlights the unglamorous side of show business, too, as Mitch becomes believably self-involved, comes to his senses, and directs an ingenious escape to normalcy. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
Catherine McTamaney
It's hard enough to be the new kid in town. It's even harder when you're the new kid in Hollywood, and your family has never owned a television. Surrounded by kids whose parents are actors, screenwriters, and agents, Mitchell Mathis has never even seen "Star Wars." Trying to understand his classmates a little better, Mitchell auditions at an open casting call and ends up getting cast in a series of popular soft-drink commercials that make him equally popular at school. Author Maiya Williams translates her years of experience in the entertainment industry into this lighthearted story of a kid just trying to fit in. The characters are believable and likeable (you'll even feel for the "mean boy"). An accessible introduction for kids who are interested in the entertainment industry, the novel offers a range of opportunities for the magic-making business and related alternatives. Reviewer: Catherine McTamaney
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Sixth-grader Mitch Mathis, whose professor father studies cockroaches, is the new kid in a town called Hollywood. Everyone he meets seems to be involved in show business, but Mitch doesn't know much about TV or movies. Still, to fit in he tries his luck in a talent search and auditions for Fizzy Whiz Soda. When he is hired to do a series of comic commercials, Mitch finds that he enjoys the filming, the crew, and the animals that appear with him. In classic Hollywood rise-and-fall fashion, the star neglects his friends, only to be jolted awake to the value of his previous life. A government study on junk food places Fizzy Whiz at the top of the list of products with heavy sugar concentrations. As the face of Fizzy Whiz, Mitch is now all over TV, but not the way he envisioned. How he gets out of the commercials and what he does next make for a satisfying conclusion. An entertaining read.—Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
Instant fame as the goofy-faced star of a series of soft-drink commercials goes to a lad's head in this insider's-eye view of the Hollywood Dream's ups and downs. Wanting only to fit in at his new California school, Mitch goes to an open casting call and against all odds lands the part. Better yet, though he's only on screen for a second he's suddenly a widely recognized celebrity-until a news feature on childhood obesity complicates things, and he discovers that he needs the friends he's blithely been blowing off. The plot is predictable, but Williams draws on long experience in the film industry to surround Mitch with adults (notably his irascible tutor) and experienced peers to explain jobs on the set, give him quick acting lessons and guided tours of the studios, deliver savvy observations about the price of fame and provide general life coaching. Ultimately Mitch gets his priorities straight, repairs his friendships and finds a clever way to get out of his contract, so all's well that ends well in this lecture-ish but lighthearted look behind the scenes. (Fiction. 10-12)

Product Details

Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years


Meet the Author

Maiya Williams was born in Corvallis, Oregon, and grew up in New Haven, Connecticut, and Berkeley, California. She attended Harvard University, where she was an editor and vice president of the Harvard Lampoon. She is a writer and a producer of televisions shows and lives with her husband and their three children, a Labrador retriever, and a variety of fish in Pacific Palisades, California.

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Fizzy Whiz Kid 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
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