When River, Freak, and Fiona discover a rare zucchini-colored crayon between the cushions of a mysterious sofa at their bus stop, they quickly find themselves in the middle of an evil plot to conquer the world! The plot’s mastermind, Edward Disin, is responsible for starting the underground coal seam fire that continually burns just beyond the kids’ backyards, a dastardly cover-up for an intergalactic portal that will soon transport an army of invaders to Earth.
Disin’s only weakness is his otherworldly obsession with the zucchini crayon–and he knows the kids have it. But with the help of an eccentric neighbor, an artificial intelligence in the form of a double-six domino, a DNA-analyzing tray, two hot air balloons, and a cat named Mucus, three kids from the middle of nowhere might be able to save the planet.
Henry Clark’s dazzling debut middle grade novel is a thoroughly original, unabashedly wacky, and surprisingly affecting story about the importance of intelligence and curiosity in a complacent world.
Description taken from Goodreads.
There was almost nothing truly endearing about this book. In recent years, it’s been popular to have the wacky children’s and middle grade books, and many are actually good reads, but at the same time, many of them are way too out-there, even for kids. I could hardly stand reading this novel because I couldn’t even take it seriously.
Admittedly, there were some good lines within this book. The humor got better steadily throughout the novel, but the plot and characters continued to lose me. The second that I started to like a certain character, a plot element would come in that was just too ridiculous for words. There was so much potential to the narration and the plot, but this story didn’t work out for me.
If you’re looking for an eccentric read, A Tangle of Knots, The Wig in the Window and The Mysterious Benedict Society are great stories with amazing writing, complex characters and good plot without being too much in the weird department. 1 star.
pg count for the hardback: 368