Tag Archives: Angleberger (author)

The Quikpick Papers: To Kick a Corpse Review

to_kick_a_corpseThe Quikpick Papers: To Kick A Corpse by Tom Angleberger, illustrations by Jen Wang

Harry N. Abrams, 2016. 978-1419719066.

Synopsis: It was over. After our last adventure, there wasn’t supposed to be a Quikpick Adventure Society. But Marilla was bent on delivering justice for her family…for the thousands of slaves that had to suffer under the hand of their masters. And when a pretty girl is goading you and calling you a wimp, well, what choice did we have? So here it is; the last and final adventure…for real this time.

Why I picked it up: I wanted to know how the last adventure ‘ended’.

Why I finished it: And so, things have come to an end. For real this time. Well, I am sure there will still be excitement and adventures, but nothing quite so fantastic as before. The trio has certainly grown since we first met them, and they will keep going on even though there are no more reports. I do have to admit that the premise for the last adventure is a little bit odd.  Then again, I’ve mentioned before that I’m not the kind of person that would intentionally seek out the strange and abnormal – I’m more of a Dave than a Marilla or a Lyle. But these sort of experiences are the ones that make a lasting impression on the characters and on the reader. The things we do with our friends, no matter how weird or crazy they may seem to others, are what bring us together and strengthen our bonds. They are the things that we will remember and look back on years later. Angleberger has given us a story about the power of friendship and the strange nature of change. Our lives evolve in unexpected ways as we get older, a fact that becomes apparent to Lyle at the close of the report. It’s not always good or bad, but it happens. Wang’s illustrations help add to the humorous nature of the story and they play off the sort of silliness that is inherent to Lyle, Dave, and Marilla’s friendship. It’s a somewhat serious end to the series, but it does give the reader some comfort knowing that the trio continues to carry on, even in the face of change.

Other related materials: The Quikpick Papers: Poop Fountain! by Tom Angleberger, illustrations by Jen Wang; The Quikpick Papers: The Rat with the Human Face 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

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The Quikpick Papers: The Rat With The Human Face Review

rat_with_the_human_faceThe 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

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Rocket and Groot: Stranded on Planet Strip Mall! Review

rocket_and_grootRocket 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

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The Quikpick Papers: Poop Fountain! Review

poop_fountainThe Quikpick Papers: Poop Fountain! by Tom Angleberger, illustrations by Jen Wang

Harry N. Abrams, 2014. 978-1419704253

Synopsis: This is the true record of the first adventure of the Quikpick Adventure Society. Society might be stretching it, since there are only three of us, but adventure is definitely stretching it. All we wanted to do was investigate the poop fountain at the local sanitation plant based on this article I found for a school assignment. The other option was opening the mysterious barrel of Banana Puree behind the empty old Kroger store. And what we found, well, you’ll have to read the report to find out.

Why I picked it up: I love, love, love the Origami Yoda books and the title reminded me of Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers.

Why I finished it: This book has just the right balance of adventure, mystery, and the completely disgusting. Since Lyle and his friends Marilla and Dave don’t have anything to do on Christmas Day, they decide to sneak into the local sanitation plant to see the mythical poop fountain. Because they can’t just sit around at the local Quikpick all day while Lyle’s parents work. That would be way too boring. Plus, it’s Christmas, so the plant is closed anyway, and it’s not like there’s anyone around to bust them for sneaking onto private property. It makes me nostalgic for the days when my parents were too busy to wonder what I was up to…which was never, but readers can dream, can’t they? The report, as discovered by Angleberger, is a story about kids like us that are in search of a cure from the everyday. They want to be able to go out and do something fun in a town that’s, well, boring. Especially when you’ve pretty much done everything that is worth doing. I like Lyle as a narrator because we can relate to him: we remember how hard it is to make friends, we remember how it is to compete with someone over a crush, we remember wanting to discover something awesome about which we could never ever tell our parents. Complete with Polaroid pictures and unofficial personal notes from Lyle, the first volume of the Quikpick Papers is guaranteed to delight fans of Angleberger’s other works and bring other fans into the fold. Plus, it’s a quick read that inspires us to discover something unexpected about the places in which we live.

Other related materials: 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

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Darth Paper Strikes Back Review

darth_paperDarth Paper Strikes Back: An Origami Yoda Book by Tom Angleberger

Amulet Books, 2011. 978-1419700279

Synopsis: Seventh grade promises to be great, but when Harvey comes to school with a folded Darth Paper bent on undermining Origami Yoda, things start to go bad fast. First, Dwight is suspended and Origami Yoda is trashed. Then, Tommy and his friends hear that Dwight might get expelled and sent to a remedial school because he disturbs the learning of the students. Darth Paper is quick to support the dismissal of Yoda and Dwight, but Tommy is still convinced that they need Origami Yoda. Can he and his friends gather enough evidence to keep Dwight from getting expelled?

Why I picked it up: I liked the first book so much I wanted to read the second one.

Why I finished it: Like the preceding book, it’s hard for me to pinpoint what I liked so much about this book. The humor is spot-on, and the case that the students make for Dwight is heartfelt, even though some of them might not exactly consider him a friend. It got me thinking about how fast things can change, for better or for worse, and how those changes can affect us. I like how Angleberger captures the mentality of a middle schooler loosing something he’s grown to depend on – whether it’s a friend or ‘just a piece of paper’. As a reader, I was rooting for Dwight to come back as well and found myself really frustrated at Harvey, but don’t know that I would have had the guts to go and fight for him as hard as Tommy did. Like the first book, the writing is simple and there is a lot of power in the first person narrative used in the vignettes by Tommy and his friends. I haven’t picked up the third book yet, but I’m looking forward to devouring it sometime in the near future. 🙂

Other related materials: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger; The Secret of the Fortune Wookie: An Origami Yoda Book by Tome Angleberger; Star Wars Origami: 36 Amazing Paper-folding Projects from a Galaxy Far, Far Away…. by Chris Alexander; Star Wars Folded Flyers: Make 30 Paper Starfighters by Ben Harper; Horton Halfpott: Or, The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor; or, The Loosening of M’Lady Luggertuck’s Corset by Tom Angleberger; Fake Mustache: Or, How Jodie O’Rodeo and Her Wonder Horse (and Some Nerdy Kid) Saved the U.S. Presidential Election from a Mad Genius Criminal Mastermind by Tom Angleberger; Spy School by Stuart Gibbs; Big Nate books by Lincoln Peirce; My Life as a Stuntboy by Janet Tashjian; The Books of Elsewhere series by Jacqueline West; Dragonbreath books by Ursula Vernon; The Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch

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The Strange Case of Origami Yoda Review

origami_yodaThe Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

Amulet Books, 2010. 978-0810984257

Synopsis: Tommy and Dwight aren’t exactly friends and Dwight isn’t exactly cool, but he knows how to fold origami. One day, Dwight folds an Origami Yoda and convinces Tommy and his friends to ask it questions – and the advice turns out to be good. Really good. Almost too good. Soon the whole school is coming to get advice from Dwight’s Origami Yoda. But when Tommy asks Origami Yoda about a girl, will he take Yoda’s advice or listen to his friend Harvey who tells him it’s only a piece of folded paper?

Why I picked it up: Yet another recommendation from a library school classmate. Also, I love Star Wars and origami.

Why I finished it: It’s hard to say what I love more about this book: Angleberger’s ability to connect with the middle school audience or the dichotomy between dweeby Dwight and the brilliance of his Origami Yoda. Every middle schooler wants answers about how to deal with their teachers, their friends, other students, and whether or not they should ask that certain someone to the school dance. While Tommy isn’t spending a lot of time trying to fit in, he gradually begins to see that Dwight is trying to fit in with his peers, even if it seems to be by rather supra natural means. I have to admit that I alternated between thinking ‘this is cool!’ and ‘how is this possible?’ like Tommy, but in the end, I think as unbelievable as things are, I’m willing to suspend disbelief. Angleberger’s story shows that as awkward as middle school is, there is a way to get through it, and finding those people that will believe you and support you no matter how weird you are can definitely make the difference. It proves that even those people you didn’t think were worth knowing or noticing have something to offer.

Other related materials: Darth Paper Strikes Back: An Origami Yoda Book by Tom Angleberger; The Secret of the Fortune Wookie: An Origami Yoda Book by Tome Angleberger; Star Wars Origami: 36 Amazing Paper-folding Projects from a Galaxy Far, Far Away…. by Chris Alexander; Star Wars Folded Flyers: Make 30 Paper Starfighters by Ben Harper; Rowan of Rin series by Emily Rodda; Horton Halfpott: Or, The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor; or, The Loosening of M’Lady Luggertuck’s Corset by Tom Angleberger; Fake Mustache: Or, How Jodie O’Rodeo and Her Wonder Horse (and Some Nerdy Kid) Saved the U.S. Presidential Election from a Mad Genius Criminal Mastermind by Tom Angleberger; The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place books by Maryrose Wood; The Castle Corona  by Sharon Creech; Diary of a Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney; Alvin Ho books by Lenore Look

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