The Quikpick Papers: The Rat With The Human Face by Tom Angleberger, illustrations by Jen Wang
Harry N. Abrams, 2015. 978-1419714894
Synopsis: Lyle isn’t a bad kid. He’s a good kid that happens to find himself in bad situations. Like when he and his friends Dave and Marilla go to a shut down research lab in search of the rat with the human face. It sounded too cool to pass up, and the Quikpick Adventure Society was looking for something else to explore. Plus, this could potentially top the poop fountain. But then they get caught in the lab and trouble ensues. Big time.
Why I picked it up: I wanted to read more about the (mis)adventures of Lyle, Dave, and Marilla.
Why I finished it: It sounds funny to say that the story is action-packed, but there seems to be quite a bit going on in a short amount of time. Lyle wants to tell things like they are, to explain what happened and how everything got so blown out of proportion. Don’t get me wrong: he makes his case pretty well, but the reader can’t deny that while what they did was totally gutsy, it was also pretty reckless. I mean, yeah, the consequences were pretty bad, but things could have been a lot worse. The report reads like a letter from a friend, complete with Dave’s doodles, some photographs, and personal notes from Lyle that give us a little bit more meat to the story. The plot is paced well; Angleberger keeps the reader moving at a pretty fast clip up until the very last pages. But what really sells it for me is the wit and the humor. If the story had been just what was told in the report, that doesn’t feel like enough justification for what the Adventure Society did and how they inevitably got disbanded. The additions of the Rhyme-Jitsu, the slow-startup camera, and the sort of tongue in cheek commentary on consumerism is what makes us really engage in the story. We feel like the Quikpick Adventure Society could be us and our friends trying to do something exciting in a town that is anything but. It’s a fun and funny story about friendship, danger, and how some adults just don’t get it that readers of all ages can enjoy.
Other related materials: The Quikpick Papers: Poop Fountain! by Tom Angleberger, illustrations by Jen Wang; The Quikpick Papers: To Kick a Corpse by Tom Angleberger, illustrations by Jen Wang; Rocket and Groot: Stranded on Planet Strip Mall! by Tom Angleberger; Origami Yoda books by Tom Angleberger; Star Wars: Jedi Academy books by Jeffrey Brown; How to Eat Fried Worms by Judy Blume; Freckle Juice by Judy Blume; Diary of a Sixth-Grade Ninja books by Marcus Emerson; The Ninja Librarians books by Jen Swann Downey; The Creature from My Closet books by Obert Skye; Diary of a Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney; Guys Read books edited by Jon Scieszka; The Lemonade War series by Jacqueline Davies