Angela K. Sherrill, children's buyer at 57th Street Books in Chicago, talks about a favorite 2010 galley.
For me, there’s something of Mark Twain in Dr. Cuthbert Soup’s upcoming middle-grade novel, A Whole Nother Story (Bloomsbury, Jan. 2010), a winking satire that grabs readers and pulls them along a swiftly narrated adventure. The action follows Mr. Cheeseman and his three unique and savvy children. On the lam in order to protect the time machine Mr. Cheeseman has created, they must elude an unbelievable and funny array of characters. Through the course of their journey, they become a team of unlikely heroes.
The basic storyline, however engaging, is not the selling point of this book. What makes this one noteworthy is its joyful manipulation of language. Word play, circular arguments, unnecessary clarifications, tongue-in-cheek descriptions, and aptly named characters will keep readers on their toes. To top it all off, intermittent chapters of “unsolicited advice” on vehicle safety, choosing a doctor, tattoos, and gift-giving provide enough satire to have readers laughing out loud from cover to cover.
Booksellers and librarians will find this an easy one to put into the hands of middle-graders looking for funny stories with action and adventure. Young readers will enjoy Dr. Soup’s voice, likening him to Lemony Snicket or Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus.
As usual, I can’t wait to see what the kids think. Will they laugh as I did? Will they root for Mr. Cheeseman and his “relatively odor free” children? Will they come to the end of the first book wanting to know what happens next? I sure hope so.