Monday, March 19, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Project Jackalope

Project Jackalope by Emily Ecton (Chronicle, publication date, May 2012) (I received a copy from the publisher for review.)
Opening Line: "First off, I should apologize to Safety Officer Webber."

The Story: Jeremy's in Junior High, the type of guy who sits "in the back of the class, inspecting a Life Saver covered in pocket fuzz and trying to decide if it's too gross to eat." He lives in an apartment building with a cast of eccentrics, one of whom--Professor Twitchett--appears to have bred a jackalope, a mythical animal resembling a rabbit, but with the antlers of an antelope. Antlers which can shred a hotel mini-bar. The Feds are after this "ruthless killer with a fuzzy cotton tail," and Jeremy and his not-quite friend, Agatha Hotchkins, are on the run to keep "Jack" safe.

Why I liked it: Emily Ecton has got the junior high boy voice down pat. (Lines like, "Mr. Jones stared into my eyes so hard that I half expected a photocopy of my brain to come out of his butt.") This is a fast-moving adventure, complete with puke-ray flashlights and other gizmos, and a sneaky sea lion called Mr. Slappy who features in one of Jeremy's escape plans. Fun, fun, fun.

I think this would appeal to 6-8th grade boys in particular. The jackalope's a bit of a lush, and a couple of villains get slashed--but all in all it's pretty tame.

About the Author: Emily Ecton is a writer and producer for Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, the NPR news quiz. She's written a number of other middle grade novels, including The Night of the Living Lawn Ornaments. She lives in Chicago. You can find more about her on her website.

Thanks for stopping by for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday. Please visit the other MMGMers listed on my sidebar--and have a great week.