Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow

Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow

4.2 5
by Nathan Bransford
     
 

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Out-of-this-world antics in this hysterical middle-grade adventure!

Sixth-grader Jacob Wonderbar is a master when it comes to disarming and annihilating substitute teachers. But when he and his best friends, Sarah and Dexter, swap a spaceship for a corn dog, they embark on an outer space adventure. And between breaking the universe with an epic explosion,

Overview

Out-of-this-world antics in this hysterical middle-grade adventure!

Sixth-grader Jacob Wonderbar is a master when it comes to disarming and annihilating substitute teachers. But when he and his best friends, Sarah and Dexter, swap a spaceship for a corn dog, they embark on an outer space adventure. And between breaking the universe with an epic explosion, being kidnapped by a space pirate, and surviving a planet that reeks of burp breath, Jacob and his friends are in way over their heads. Action packed with an added dose of heart, Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow is sure to captivate middlegrade readers all over the universe.

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)
Booklist
“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)

From the Publisher
“fast-paced and hilarious” — Booklist

“There’s plenty of set-up for future volumes; fans will hope they won’t have to wait long.” — Kirkus

“There are enough good lines to keep smiles coming frequently.” — School Library Journal

“A thoughtful adventure that will leave readers contemplating both the outer and inner workings of the universe.” — Bulletin of the Center for Childrens Books

“Loaded with laughs, imagination…a highly original novel that’s certain to appeal to reluctant and avid readers alike.” — The Repository

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803735378
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
05/12/2011
Series:
Jacob Wonderbar Series, #1
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Nathan Bransford (www.nathanbransford.com) lives in San Francisco, California. Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow is his first novel.

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Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
HEADBANGING GOOD
trayvianjames More than 1 year ago
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).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
blulapis More than 1 year ago
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.
SmartBlondBookish More than 1 year ago
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.