Monday, February 20, 2012

Cold Cereal

Booklist (February 1, 2012 (Vol. 108, No. 11))

Grades 4-7. On his first day of school, Scott Doe accompanies his new sixth-grade class on a field trip to the Goodco Cereal Factory—here, he encounters a leprechaun whom nobody else can see. Meanwhile, in a parallel story, twin orphans Erno and Emily Utz undertake their latest game, which is foisted upon them by their foster father, and which is supposed to test their intelligence. Eventually the stories converge, bringing together magical experiments, chase scenes, Merle Lynn and a colorful variety of fay, from a pink dragon to a Bigfoot nanny. The children unite and, with the help of friends fairy and real, attempt to thwart the cereal company’s dastardly plans. Rex supports his centrifugal imagination with tight storytelling, effervescent characterization, and strong imagery and metaphor (plus black-and-white illustrations). The result is a story that’s simultaneously dense and frothy, like chocolate perforated with bubbles. And while his imagined world is fully realized, he’s careful not to explain too much, building a sense of mystery that will leave eager readers anxious for the sequel.

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