Monday, September 26, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Rat Brain Fiasco

The Rat Brain Fiasco (Splurch Academy for Disruptive Boys #1) by Julie Gardner Berry and Sally Faye Gardner (Grosset and Dunlap 2010)
The Story (thanks to Goodreads copywriters):
When Cody Mack is called to the principal's office yet again, he finds something far worse than detention awaiting him: Splurch Academy, a frightfully sinister boarding school for disobedient children run by a group of monstrous teachers.

Wonderful Things About This Book: This would be a great read for a "reluctant reader." (Or an unreluctant one, come to that!) It sprang to mind when my wife told me about a conversation she recently had with a woman at church.  The woman's grandson, who is ten, is struggling with reading. What would a Middle Grade Mafioso's wife suggest? (The Mafioso himself must have been at the doughnut table and giving off unapproachable vibes.)

The great thing about this book and its ilk is the way it marries text with cartoon-style illustrations. And the plot is super fun: there are the disruptive boys and their various shenanigans, and a staff of monsters who are trying to tame the boys through a hideous experiment. Cody Mack is spunky, yet the antagonists have plenty of tricks up their vampire sleeves too. Plus, there's a spectacular car-bursting-through-a-garage-door scene!!

The series is written and illustrated by a couple of sisters. Three other books have already been pubbed: #2 Curse of the Bizarro Beetle; #3 The Collosal Fossil Freakout; and #4 The Trouble with Squids. More about the books and their authors can be found at their Splurch Academy website

Recommended for readers 8 and above.

(The winners of last week's We Are Not Eaten By Yaks are revealed in the post below this one.)


  1. This sounds like a funny read - I love the title!

  2. I hadn't heard of this. It sounds like a fun read that my daughter would have enjoyed at that age. Thanks for telling us about it.

  3. Love this...and had not heard of it. Will be checking it out. Thanks...and way cool I did not know the Don ate donuts.

  4. You always address stuff that is off my radar, which is cool.

  5. I haven't seen this one before. It looks great. Sad thing's eerily similar to the book I'm querying. *sigh*

  6. I love hearing about books that are tweaked for boys! Great pick; I haven't heard of it or the series, so thank you.

  7. I concur with all your commenters. How have I missed this series? It looks great. Great pick.

  8. Hey, MGM, thanks for the shout-out! There's an honorary bunk at Splurch Academy with your super-crypic name on it. Cheers, and happy Halloween.


Youse got something to say? Well, say it then. (The Don and I will shoot you... a personal reply, that is. But if we can't find your e-mail, we'll just reply in the comment box.)