Monday, March 19, 2012
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Project Jackalope
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.
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