Rocket and Groot: Stranded on Planet Strip Mall! by Tom Angleberger
Marvel Press, 2016. 978-1484714522
Synopsis: After an epic battle with space piranhas, Rocket, Groot, and a highly intelligent tape dispenser named Veronica find themselves stranded on a planet without a ship, food, or water. But this isn’t just any planet. This is a planet that is covered entirely by a strip mall, the shops of which contain killer toilets. It’s going to take, heart, muscle, and a LOT of tape if they are going to survive….
Why I picked it up: I loved Guardians of the Galaxy and I was excited to find out that there was a middle grade novel that followed the characters.
Why I finished it: This book has a little bit of everything: action, drama, suspense, humor, and awesome doodles drawn by a genetically modified woodland creature and a giant tree whose entire vocabulary consists of three words. Okay, so the doodles done by one of the characters are far superior to the other, but that’s sort of beside the point. I loved that the proprietors of the shops on Planet Strip Mall all have a sort of borderline creepy quality even before the reader understands just how evil and insistent they are. And yet, as battle worn as our heroes become, they still maintain their snarky personalities that some older readers will know carried over from the film. Angleberger has done a fantastic job adapting the characters for the middle school audience and the fact that he threw in a tape dispense because he could makes the story that much more awesome. You can totally tell just how much fun the author is having with the characters and the universe they inhabit, and it’s contagious. It’s a well-crafted story that is sure to please readers of all ages, whether or not they saw Guardians – and there will be more where this one came from!
Other related materials: Origami Yoda books by Tom Angleberger; The Quikpick Papers series by Tom Angleberger; Inspector Flytrap by Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell; Sidekicked by John David Anderson; Minion by John David Anderson; Powerless by Matthew Cody; Super by Matthew Cody; Villanous by Matthew Cody; The Codename Conspiracy series by Chris Rylander; Platypus Police Squad series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka; Nerd Camp by Elissa Brent Weissman; Nerd Camp 2.0 by Elissa Brent Weissman; Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi; Moon Base Alpha novels by Stuart Gibbs; Big Nate books by Lincoln Peirce