The Cookie Company

Ross Venokur, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $14.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-385-32680-3
Without the quirky appeal of Venokur's first novel, The Amazing Frecktacle, his latest devolves into convoluted wordplay and an all-too-obvious message. Alex Grindley believes himself to be the unluckiest person in the world--his mother is dead, his father sits in the house all day watching game shows, and his ""hoodoo"" (the part of the body where all the bad luck comes from) is swollen to an enormous degree. So when a mysterious Chinese-food deliveryman brings him a surprise dinner on his 13th birthday, Alex can't help but believe that only disaster will ensue--and of course, it does. His fortune cookie catapults him into a fantastic world where he must prevent the evil Cypress Vine, the queen of game show hosts, from taking over his father and the rest of her television-addicted audience. Occasionally, the narrator breaks in to address readers directly (""You think you're confused--just imagine how Alex felt as he traveled down a moving sidewalk, through another dimension""). The novel's confusing plotting begins to untangle toward the final third of the book and picks up the pace, but readers put off by the author's attempts at Carroll-esque wordplay may not stick with it long enough to appreciate the final chapters. Ages 8-12. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-440-41597-8
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-21120-8
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