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.


  1. Sounds like a fun book. I loved the quote. Thanks for sharing another book I haven't heard of.

  2. This did have some good laugh out loud lines, but I wanted MORE jackalope violence. We will not even discuss what this says about how much time I spend with middle school boys!

  3. This books sounds like lots of laughs. :D Thanks for sharing it!!

  4. That opening line is confusing, but otherwise, this sounds awesome. Pretty much anything associated with NPR has to be full of win.

    1. The typo has been fixed! Thanks for pointing it out, eagle-eyed proofreader man.

  5. Where do you find all of these? You always have such cool MMGM titles, and I haven't seen most of them before! This one sounds like the PERFECT story for my 4th grader. :)

  6. My son would read this based on the "butt" line you quoted!

  7. "The jackalope's a bit of a lush." Too funny, Michael!

    This sounds like a wonderful boy book. Thanks for the heads-up.

  8. That is one funny line about the photocopy! Glad I stopped in to see your site and read your review.

  9. It sounds fun and what a great cover! I am loving MG covers lately.

  10. This sounds interesting - I'll have to check it out!

  11. Hey, how did you get an advance copy from the publisher? I'm starting to think you really are a Middle Grade Mafioso. Was it a bribe? Hmm? ;)

    Great review! Sounds like something my son would love reading. I'll tell him about it. He reads faster than I do, and has way more time than me to read gazillions of books. Sometimes I wish I was back in middle grade.

    Oh, and I tagged you on my blog with the Lucky 7 Meme. Here's a chance for you to show some of YOUR writing. :)

  12. Ohhhhh the"butt" line is pure genius.
    I think I want to read this only because of the MC's voice.
    Thank you so much for sharing. This is going on my list :)

  13. Ooo, I have this ARC to read too! Now I really looking forward to it I must say! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Michael.


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