The Quirks: Welcome to Normal

The Quirks: Welcome to Normal

4.5 2
by Erin Soderberg

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Why be Normal, when you can be a Quirk? Presenting a charmingly offbeat new series about a family that is anything but ordinary.See more details below

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Why be Normal, when you can be a Quirk? Presenting a charmingly offbeat new series about a family that is anything but ordinary.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Given their peculiarities, the Quirk family never stays put for long. In the first book in Soderberg's (Monkey See, Monkey Zoo) Quirks series, they expect that their time in Normal—a town where people live in identical houses and drive copycat cars—to be short-lived. Penelope's vivid imagination is apt to "roar to life—literally," her prankster brother Finn is invisible, their scatterbrained mother is blessed with the "power of persuasion," and their grandfather can roll back time. Only Molly, Penelope's twin sister, is "magic-less," and she is determined to do whatever it takes to help her family fit in. Though the nonstop mishaps that spring up are all-out silly, Molly's pain over her father's abandonment and her efforts to harness Finn's troublemaking and help Penelope form lasting friendships provide the story's emotional backbone. Light's cartoons capture the Quirk family's eccentric and skittish temperaments; despite their singular abilities, theirs is a genuine family, drawn with humor and heart. Ages 8–12. Author's agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. Illustrator's agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (June)
Children's Literature - Kristin Harris
The Quirks are a very unusual family. Each member has some kind of magical power...all, that is, except for Molly. She is the normal twin. The family's magic powers create problems for the Quirks whenever they try to fit in a new community. They have had to move around a lot because eventually someone slips up and reveals their magic in a way that requires them to move on to another town. We join the Quirks just after they moved to Normal, Michigan. They noticed right away that the people in Normal all like to do things the same way as each other. For example, the neighbors all plant the same kinds of flowers. The men all have the same haircut. The Quirks do not get it. But Molly and Penelope—the twin with the vivid imagination—are getting ready to start the fourth grade in their new school in their new town. It is not a smooth transition, of course. Penelope's vivid imaginations can become real, and in Normal that means trouble. The Quirks make an effort to fit in, but can they ever? Reviewer: Kristin Harris
Kirkus Reviews
Having hastily moved 26 times, the aptly named Quirks arrive in Normal, Mich., determined to blend in--a tall order as all but nearly 10-year-old Molly have magical abilities and underdeveloped senses of responsibility. Being (seemingly) the only Quirk without magic and the most well-adjusted to boot, Molly gamely struggles to ride herd on her filthy, prank-loving little brother, Finn, who is invisible to all but her (except, as it turns out, when he's chewing gum), and her depressed, troubled twin Penelope, whose every stray thought or mental image turns real. The rest of the clan? Molly's father vanished five years ago; her frazzled mother, Bree, holds a job only because she can control the minds of others to cover her incompetence; a wimpy monster named Niblet lives under Molly's bed; Grandpa Quill can reset time in small doses but not always voluntarily; and Grandma is a bird-sized fairy justly terrified of cats. Though spinning these discomfiting circumstances and abilities into light slapstick is at best a quixotic enterprise, Soderberg tries. She surrounds the Quirks with relentlessly oblivious regular folk, creates a series of consequence-free messes and disasters that disappear tidily between chapters, and hauls in heavy contrivances at the climax to make the town's collective effort to create the world's largest wad of chewed gum a success. Light's frequent illustrations capture most of the grosser incidents, of which there are a goodly number. A cliffhanger ending isn't the only sour note in this series opener. (Fantasy. 8-10)
School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—Nine-year-old twins Penelope and Molly Quirk come from a unique family. Grandpa Quirk can shift time, their mother has strong powers of persuasion, and their five-year-old brother hasn't been seen by anyone except Molly since he started becoming invisible at six months of age. Penelope herself has a tricky habit of imagining things into reality. Strange events follow the Quirks wherever they go; just as they get settled in a new town, one of their "quirks" gets out of hand and they are forced to move on. Upon landing in the tiny town of Normal, Michigan, however, things begin to look up. Have the decidedly abnormal Quirks finally found their true home? Like the characters in Ingrid Law's Savvy (2008) and Scrumble (2010, both Dial), Soderberg's struggle to maintain and control the things that make them special while still leading meaningful lives in the wider world. Light's illustrations add depth and energy to the characters, effectively moving readers through the story. This title combines gentle family drama, humor, and magic, resulting in a satisfying read.—Sara Saxton, Tuzzy Consortium Library, Barrow, AK

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Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Quirks Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.90(d)
830L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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