Imaginative characters and a string of cliffhangers make Philbrick's (Freak the Mighty) science-fiction novel a fun and fast-paced read. Eleven-year-old Arthur Woodbury, tired of being called ""Biscuit Butt,"" orders a weight-loss device advertised in his comic book: ""Lose weight while you sleep! REM World Products."" When the device arrives, Arthur discovers that the helmet transports him to a magical REM world. But because he did not follow the instructions carefully, he's stuck there, and even worse, he's unleashed a force that could destroy the universe. Through a series of fantastic adventures, in which he's forced ""to do stuff like pull-ups and row a boat, and fly, and ride the giants,"" Arthur finds a way to return home and save the universe, losing weight along the way--and, more important, gaining self-esteem and courage. The REM world he enters is populated with the Cloud People (who use their wings to glide in the World Above), the giants Grog and Droll (who rip apart continents as they run) and Morf, a cat-like creature who changes shape but consistently holds onto his caustic wit (""Try not to look too appetizing"" are his only words of advice to Arthur when they crash inside a demon's cave). These vivid personalities will usher readers quickly through the chapters. Ages 9-14. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/2000 Release date: 05/01/2000 Genre: Children's
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