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The Pickle King
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The Pickle King

5.0 1
by Rebecca Promitzer
 

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A podunk town, a pickle factory, a dead body with one eyeball gone?! Maybe this summer won't be so boring after all for Bea and her friends. A funny, scary, original debut "caper"!

Bea lives in the nowhere town of Elbow, where it rains so much the residents have green mold growing between their toes. Nothing ever happens in Elbow. Its closest claim to fame is a

Overview


A podunk town, a pickle factory, a dead body with one eyeball gone?! Maybe this summer won't be so boring after all for Bea and her friends. A funny, scary, original debut "caper"!

Bea lives in the nowhere town of Elbow, where it rains so much the residents have green mold growing between their toes. Nothing ever happens in Elbow. Its closest claim to fame is a giant pickle factory, owned by Herman, the Pickle King. Herman's a small-time big shot, a local celebrity...until he turns up dead. And when Bea and Sam stumble across the body--minus one eyeball--in the water-logged basement of a creepy old house, suddenly THEY'RE ones in a pickle! With a mystery to solve, maybe this summer won't be such a bore after all....

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Promitzer's debut doesn't quite live up to its lofty aspirations, but has plenty of hooks to grab readers. Eleven-year-old Bea, whose father is dead and whose mother is in an asylum, lives in the town of Elbow, where it rains “from May through September,” and the few kids not lucky enough to escape during the summer are forced by the school to hang out together. When Bea's friend Sam shows her a house with a dead body in it, it leads to a chain of events revolving around ghosts, underground trash-dwellers, a bag of stolen intestines, and a conspiracy involving local businesses. Bea, Sam and his dog, and three other kids deal with their share of scares, while (naturally) forming friendships that could transcend their different social statuses. Promitzer never quite manages to meld the wackiness of the town, the horror of the ghost and killings, and the realistic effects the assorted parental deaths and broken homes have on the children. Still, there are enough adventure elements—especially for readers with an appetite for grisly details—to make for an entertaining read. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

"Written with obvious relish and a distinctive individual voice, The Pickle King is an unusual blend of genuine humour and horror, with more than a dash of the truly disgusting. (Yes, it's offal in places!) I'm eager to see what Rebecca Promitzer serves up next." -- Philip Ardagh

"Spine-chilling...intensely visual..." -- Books for Keeps

"A fantastic oddball story. Recommended for any child with a thirst for adventure and a love for all things weird and wonderful." -- Waterstones Book Quarterly

"A hugely entertaining adventure story tinged with enough horror to delight but not really to terrify. Bored during a wet holiday, Bea and her friend Sam go exploring and come across the body of a dead man. What's the story? Bea and her gang set out to follow the clues and unravel what's been going on. A tremendous debut, The Goonies for a new generation. Readers of Louis Sachar, Frank Cottrell Boyce, and Paul Jennings will devour it in a sitting."
-- Julia Eccelshare, Children's Book Editor, The Guardian UK, on Lovereading4kids.co.uk

"The traditional soggy British summer makes another appearance in The Pickle King, which is set in a small town called Elbow where it does nothing but rain. Bea, the narrator, and her gang are a bunch of 12-year-olds with nothing in common except having the misfortune to be stuck in Elbow for the holidays. When they discover the dead body of the owner of the nearby pickle factory with an eyeball missing, their lives start to become more interesting. This is a fast-paced, entertaining debut with well-drawn characters." -- Lisa O'Kelly, The Observer UK

"With its parade of weird and wonderful characters, this is a really vivid read that is at times reminiscent of Louis Sachar and Lemony Snicket. Part detective story, part chilling ghost story, it moves seamlessly from humour to action to horror...From the oppressive rain-drenched town of Elbow to Garbage City, created beneath the wonderfully disgusting dump, Promitzer manages to create a fascinating backdrop for the action-packed drama. A real page-turner with a fantastic and unexpected conclusion, it will thoroughly entertain those drawn in by the intriguing cover."
--Sally Harrison, writeaway.org.uk

"Rebecca Promitzer did a lovely job writing this exciting and freakishly out-of-the-ordinary novel. The characters were entrancing and very well thought-out. The plot was an enticing tale of murder, woven for a younger audience to understand. I loved the atmosphere; it just made me want to keep reading it over and over again. It was a very engrossing, full of mystery and adventure at every turn."
-- SEBCO Student Review, Olivia Pine, Nazareth Hall Middle School, Rochester, NY

"A fantastic, unusual read with lots of interesting ideas. The setting is a small town called Elbow where it rains a lot. The main characters include five misfit kids and one mad dog. A real-life dead body, a missing eyeball, and a bag of intestines: These unusual ingredients add up to a red-hot adventure with dark and chilling moments that grip you from page to page."
-- Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books blog

"An interestingly dark and very, very wet story -- featuring ghosts and creepy bad guys -- in which unlikely friendships are formed, mysteries are solved, and relationships bloom!"
-- Cinda Meister, Booksmart, Morgan Hill, CA

"When I first heard about The Pickle King, it struck me as the perfect summer book -- a big, complicated, mystery/thriller with a crew of smart kids and a ghost or two. In other words, a good diversion for long hot days. What I found was something way beyond my initial hopes. This middle-grade mystery is unlike anything I've read in years -- it has all the elements I expected, plus a plot that careens in a dozen different directions and ups and downs of epic proportions. Ther

\u0022A hugely entertaining adventure story tinged with enough horror to delight but not really to terrify. Bored during a wet holiday, Bea and her friend Sam go exploring and come across the body of a dead man. What's the story? Bea and her gang set out to follow the clues and unravel what's been going on. A tremendous debut, The Goonies for a new generation. Readers of Louis Sachar, Frank Cottrell Boyce, and Paul Jennings will devour it in a sitting.\u0022

-- Julia Eccelshare, Children's Book Editor, The Guardian UK, on Lovereading4kids.co.uk

\u0022The traditional soggy British summer makes another appearance in The Pickle King, which is set in a small town called Elbow where it does nothing but rain. Bea, the narrator, and her gang are a bunch of 12-year-olds with nothing in common except having the misfortune to be stuck in Elbow for the holidays. When they discover the dead body of the owner of the nearby pickle factory with an eyeball missing, their lives start to become more interesting. This is a fast-paced, entertaining debut with well-drawn characters.\u0022 -- Lisa O'Kelly, The Observer UK

"With its parade of weird and wonderful characters, this is a really vivid read that is at times reminiscent of Louis Sachar and Lemony Snicket. Part detective story, part chilling ghost story, it moves seamlessly from humour to action to horror...From the oppressive rain-drenched town of Elbow to Garbage City, created beneath the wonderfully disgusting dump, Promitzer manages to create a fascinating backdrop for the action-packed drama. A real page-turner with a fantastic and unexpected conclusion, it will thoroughly entertain those drawn in by the intriguing cover."
--Sally Harrison, writeaway.org.uk

"Rebecca Promitzer did a lovely job writing this exciting and freakishly out-of-the-ordinary novel. The characters were entrancing and very well thought-out. The plot was an enticing tale of murder, woven for a younger audience to understand. I loved the atmosphere; it just made me want to keep reading it over and over again. It was a very engrossing, full of mystery and adventure at every turn."
-- SEBCO Student Review, Olivia Pine, Nazareth Hall Middle School, Rochester, NY

"A fantastic, unusual read with lots of interesting ideas. The setting is a small town called Elbow where it rains a lot. The main characters include five misfit kids and one mad dog. A real-life dead body, a missing eyeball, and a bag of intestines: These unusual ingredients add up to a red-hot adventure with dark and chilling moments that grip you from page to page."
-- Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books blog

"An interestingly dark and very, very wet story -- featuring ghosts and creepy bad guys -- in which unlikely friendships are formed, mysteries are solved, and relationships bloom!"
-- Cinda Meister, Booksmart, Morgan Hill, CA

"When I first heard about The Pickle King, it struck me as the perfect summer book -- a big, complicated, mystery/thriller with a crew of smart kids and a ghost or two. In other words, a good diversion for long hot days. What I found was something way beyond my initial hopes. This middle-grade mystery is unlike anything I've read in years -- it has all the elements I expected, plus a plot that careens in a dozen different directions and ups and downs of epic proportions. There are friends to the end, stolen body parts, an asylum of sane people made crazy, some very bad guys, revealing pictures, and people who hide in a most unexpected place. Buckle yourself in when you start reading, because the narrative turns on a dime, and you will never see those curves coming.

"Bea is bored out of her mind. Her beloved father is dead, her mother has been committed to an asylum due to paralyzing grief, and while a kind family friend is taking care of her, life in Elbow is pretty much the dullest you can imagine. It rains all summer, every summer, and there isn't a dang thing to do. Determined to win a local photo contest (and the prize, a holiday trip to sunny Florida!), Bea sets out with her friend Sam to photograph local faces. What they discover, though, is a dead body -- and from that point on Bea finds herself at the whim of a ghost who will not rest in peace until she gets his killer. Soon enough, Bea and Sam band together with their fellow bored classmates, and the crew (lonely rich girl, geek boy, responsible sister with tagalong little brother) set out to solve the crime. Along the way, they uncover a citywide conspiracy and end up having to run for their lives -- more than once. They also check out an abandoned train, the labyrinthine garbage dump, and mysterious X-rays at the local hospital. It's nonstop action, but it's the solid friendships between the characters that is the heart of the story.

"The Pickle King is like a 400-page-long popcorn movie, and I say that as a compliment. Bea is fun -- the whole crew is awesome -- and I had a blast reading about their adventures. Add a bologna sandwich, chips, and some lemonade, and you're set for summer good times."
-- Colleen Mondor, Chasing Ray blog

School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Not quite 12-year-old Bea lives in the remote, rather odd town of Elbow where each summer the rain is relentless. It creates mud, causes green mold to grow between people's toes, and forces kids who can't get away to someplace warm and sunny to join a school-sponsored Summer Club. This summer, however, Bea and her buddy Sam solve a murder mystery—the death of Herman, the Pickle King, whose face appears on every jar of pickle products made in the town. In the process, they develop unlikely friendships and uncover a nefarious plot. The Summer Club becomes the Raintown Convicts and very different personalities come together for an adventure that is by turns spooky (there are ghosts and mad scientists), gross (bags of intestines and huge rats, just for starters), and insightful (the kids deal with family problems, school, and friendships). The action of Rebecca Promitzer's tale (Chicken House, 2010) is revealed through Bea's narration, voiced by Laurence Bouvard who creates and sustains unique voices and distinct personalities for all the characters. While the reading is well-executed, it also highlights the novel's flaws. The convoluted plot stretches credibility, secondary characters are not well developed, and the writing sometimes impedes the flow. Long lists of what Bea observes bog down the action and slows its pace. Only the most dedicated are likely to stick with the story.—Maria Salvadore, formerly Washington DC Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
The plot of this rain-soaked dark comedy doesn't quite hold water, but Promitzer chucks in so many bizarre twists and revolting details that readers will likely forgive her. In getting to the bottom of several ugly secrets in their seemingly ordinary town, 11-year-old Bea and five other local children squabble and bond as they gather clues from a long-dead corpse, two ghosts, a stolen bag of human intestines, a serial-killer surgeon, a community of mentally disturbed outcasts, a mansion stocked with human parts and more. Punctuated by attacks from human punks and oversized rats, a race up a dark staircase against a tide of roaches and like rousing events, the young sleuths' investigation ultimately winds up in an encounter with a centuries-old tycoon kept alive by a steady supply of replacement organs harvested from the town's terrorized residents. Bea weathers it all with shaky but admirable fortitude-retaining enough aplomb in the end to keep her vanished father's eyeball in the freezer as a memento. Must reading for fans of Jack Gantos's Love Curse of the Rumbaughs (2006). (Detective fantasy. 11-13)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545170871
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
03/01/2010
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
643,331
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.35(d)
Lexile:
880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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Pickle King 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Pickle King is a great book to read any age. If u like excitement u will love it!