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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)
Posted May 5, 2012
Posted October 2, 2011
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).
Posted July 16, 2011
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.
Posted May 17, 2011
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 12, 2011
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