Sunday, February 16, 2014

Meltdown Madness (Looniverse #2) by David Lubar

The characters in this book are not developed well. I think I should have read book one to get the full picture of who is who, but someone checked it out of my library so I tried jumping into the series with book two. Boohoo. This book was a head-scratcher for me. The protagonist, Ed, can't play on the soccer team unless he sells a box of chocolate or wrapping paper. (I've never been at a school that has that requirement to play sports.) When Ed gets outside he realizes it's hot and tells his friend to run the box home, but his magical coin makes the boy run so fast he goes like a rocket, heating the candy to a liquid softness. Ed determines the bars are unsellable and he spends the rest of the story coming up with cockamamie ideas of how to earn enough money to buy the bars.

For a story to work, even with fantasy, there has to be some internal logic to the plot. This tale was missing that logic. First, kids aren't going to be excluded from sports because they can't sell a box of candy. It would have made more sense that the boy was selling candy as a fundraiser to go play soccer in a tournament. The next illogical notion is that Ed couldn't sell lumpy chocolate. I remember buying lumpy melted chocolate from my friends fundraising at school. I was so dang hungry I didn't care if it was melted, just like Ed's brother didn't care when he ate a piece. Even though it is illogical, the imaginative and silly side to the story will appeal to young readers.

As a character Ed doesn't give up and he is creative with his ideas of how to make money. He worries about how he speaks because his magical coin responds to his words in unexpected ways. When his sister is playing with her make-up and hairstyling doll head, he manages to let loose pigs and ponies from using the words, "pig-tails" and "ponytails." Ed doesn't show any internal struggles, but mainly external ones. The resolution and how his friend warmed up the milk was funny. A light-hearted illogical early reader. 

2 Smileys

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