Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow

( 5 )


Jacob Wonderbar is used to detentions, but when a spaceship crashes near his house, he finds himself in a whole new level of trouble. After swapping a corn dog for the ship, he and his two best friends, Sarah Daisy and Dexter, take off on a madcap adventure. They accidentally cause an epic explosion, get kidnapped by a space pirate, and are marooned on planets like Numonia and Paisley, where the air smells like burp breath and revenge-hungry substitute teachers rule. And that's only the beginning . . . It turns ...

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Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow

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Jacob Wonderbar is used to detentions, but when a spaceship crashes near his house, he finds himself in a whole new level of trouble. After swapping a corn dog for the ship, he and his two best friends, Sarah Daisy and Dexter, take off on a madcap adventure. They accidentally cause an epic explosion, get kidnapped by a space pirate, and are marooned on planets like Numonia and Paisley, where the air smells like burp breath and revenge-hungry substitute teachers rule. And that's only the beginning . . . It turns out that there's an entire colony of space humans, and Jacob's long-lost father just might be one of them.

The first book in debut author Nathan Bransford's hilarious space adventure series has dynamite friendships, peculiar planets, and nonstop action. You'll never look at the stars the same way!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bransford's debut is a by-the-numbers space adventure that mixes occasionally fresh zaniness with mostly familiar tropes. Sixth-grader Jacob Wonderbar is constantly getting in trouble, torturing substitute teachers with the (often unwilling) help of his best friend, nebbishy Dexter Goldstein. Their friend Sarah Daisy avoids trouble by virtue of being pretty, much to her consternation. When the three friends encounter an alien who offers to sell his spaceship for a corndog, they quickly accept, and soon find that they've destroyed the only route back to Earth (the titular "kapow"). Their adventures in space include encounters with a preteen pirate, a world where each day lasts a minute, and a world populated by substitute teachers. The goofiness is amusing if generally predictable, but Bransford does include some interesting character development late in the game (after he's played with unfortunate female and Jewish stereotypes, alas). The deus ex machina ending both resolves the plot and lays the groundwork for a sequel. Jennings contributes freewheeling b&w cartoons in keeping with the story's overall tone. Ages 9–up. (May)
“fast-paced and hilarious”
Bulletin of the Center for Childrens Books
“A thoughtful adventure that will leave readers contemplating both the outer and inner workings of the universe.”
The Repository
“Loaded with laughs, imagination…a highly original novel that’s certain to appeal to reluctant and avid readers alike.”
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—When an interstellar visitor trades his spaceship for a corn dog, three kids zoom off for a series of amusing adventures beyond the solar system. They encounter goofy space cops, a bratty space pirate, and many other odd characters as they jump from planet to planet onboard talking spaceships. The quirky setting provides opportunities for playful humor, which sometimes falls flat but mostly hits the mark. On a planet that rotates once per minute, for example, inhabitants take naps every 30 seconds, making conversation challenging. There are enough good lines to keep smiles coming fairly frequently, and the consistently sardonic narrative voice keeps the tone appropriately lighthearted. However, character development is sketchy, and shifts to emotional issues involving Jacob's missing father and spats between the friends are generally unconvincing. The many chase scenes, narrow escapes, and acts of bravery are more comical than suspenseful, but usually not quite funny enough to be engaging. Appropriately cartoonish black-and-white illustrations are sprinkled throughout and these, along with the short chapters and brisk pace, add some appeal for readers in search of light, undemanding science fiction.—Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, OR
Kirkus Reviews

Bransford's debut and the first of a series is an outer-space comedy of errors.

Sixth-grader Jacob Wonderbar is the bane of substitute teachers everywhere. When witchy Mrs. Pinkerton tries to get the class under control and somehow her precious mug is shattered, a sprinkler is triggered and the whole class erupts in screams...Jacob gets the blame and his mother has to pick him up. That night, commiserating with his best friends, Sarah and Dexter, they investigate a strange noise in the forest—and a man in silver offers them a spaceship in exchange for a corndog. Next thing the trio knows, they are taking a tour of the solar system aboard Lucy, an opinionated if slightly bored spaceship. Then there's a little accident that may involve the breaking of the universe. A space pirate, the eating of dirt, the universe's largest carbon allotrope and a snooty space princess all complicate the trip home...which Jacob isn't sure he wants to make. It's the Saturday-morning-cartoon version of Hitchhiker's Guide even if the laughs aren't quite so fast and furious (and some of them are a bit of a stretch).

There's plenty of set-up for future volumes; fans will hope they won't have to wait long. (Science fiction/humor. 9-12)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142420973
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/15/2012
  • Series: Jacob Wonderbar Series
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 423,557
  • Age range: 9 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Nathan Bransford writes a popular blog and Twitter feed about writing and the publishing industry. He gets more than 150,000 page views a month on his blog, has more than 50,000 followers on Twitter, and will be hosting extensive games, parties, and giveaways in the lead-up to publication. Nathan lives in San Francisco, California.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2012



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  • Posted October 2, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    I'm a big fan of YA fiction, but I don't normally read Middle Grade fiction. However, I really, really enjoyed Jacob Wonderbar. The pace was fast, but not at the expense of the characters. I loved how action-packed it was, but at the same time I got to know the characters and I really rooted for them to get home. I loved the humor, especially the planet of substitute teachers, and I felt like the characters had a quite a bit of depth (which is no easy feat in a novel meant for young readers).

    I will definitely pick up the second book in the series, and I look forward to sharing Jacob Wonderbar with my daughter (currently 8 months old).

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  • Posted July 16, 2011

    Very fun space adventure!

    Loved this book! I think both boys and girls will enjoy this one. It's fast paced and there are some very funny parts, things that I remembered and chuckled about after I finished the book. It's loosely similar to a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, although not really. It has its own twists and surprises, and it targets a different age group. I thought it was imaginative, with images and events that would appeal to kids.

    There are three main characters, and they all have their own stories and character development. Although light-hearted, there are some important themes underweaving the narrative - how to become brave; how to deal with your anger; how to deal with sadness at feeling rejected and missing someone. I really liked that there was a strong female character here, but there was also a male character who was stuggling with not being assertive - a nice balance to the more assertive, confident main character. Then all the storylines come together, helping the reader feel the importance of friendship. I found that to be heartwarming.

    I was impressed and I recommend this as a good book for kids who want a fun adventure book. As an adult who enjoys kid's literature, I'm very much looking forward to the sequel.

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  • Posted May 17, 2011

    No KAPOW here

    Okay, so I know I'll take a beating for this, but I dished out my hard earned cash because of all the hype surrounding this book. I had hopes it would be a story to read with my ADD son, but this book seemed like it was taken in little pieces from about twenty other books. Nothing was new (some of the stereotyping was a little offensive) and I came away with no WOW moments. Most disappointing was that my son was bored. Not a lot of KAPOW happening. On the good side, the book is much better edited than most of what we read together. It felt very professional. I wish there had been more story to the story. It did give me a few ideas for bedtime stories, so I guess there's that.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

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