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Cold Cereal (The Cold Cereal Saga) Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 7, 2012

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, February 7, 2012
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 770L (What's this?)
  • Series: The Cold Cereal Saga (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray (February 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062060023
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.5 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,395,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Jon Scieszka Interviews Adam Rex

Jon Scieszka is the National Ambassador for Children’s Literature emeritus and the bestselling author of more than 25 books for kids, including The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, Math Curse, Robot Zot!, and the Time Warp Trio series. Jon founded Guys Read to encourage a passion for reading among young boys, with the philosophy that boys love to read most when they are reading things they love.

Jon Scieszka: Cold Cereal is the only novel I have ever read that combines Celtic folklore, cryptozoology, Arthurian legends, codes and puzzles, Freemasonry, dragon biology, TV cereal commercials, Shakespeare, and a rough outline for the musical version of Huckleberry Finn. How did that happen?

Adam Rex: Honestly? After my last novel (Fat Vampire) I wanted to get back to writing for a middle-grade audience, and I had, like, six or seven possible novels already started to some degree or another. And I began to notice some connective tissue between a few of them. My idea about the twins who are test subjects in a sinister experiment had an evil breakfast cereal company in it. The one about the kid who catches a leprechaun trying to steal his backpack in a bus station restroom had a character who’s at home both in ancient folklore and cereal commercials. The one about the modern-day pop-star knight who has to slay a dragon and the one about a time-traveling Merlin had European folklore connections, too. So I started mashing them all together and found they complemented each other better than they had any right to. And then I added a musical Huck Finn.

Scieszka: In writing so extensively about leprechauns and clurichauns, unicorns and unicats, goblins and pookas and other assorted Fair Folk… don’t you worry that you might have revealed too much? About both Queen Titania’s court and your middle-school reading history?

Rex: Ha! (Cough.) Yes. My middle-school reading history was pretty dire, actually, as practically everything I read outside of school was some officially licensed Dungeons & Dragons novel. Which is to say: I read a lot of fantasy, but I didn't even read any good fantasy. To this day I still haven't read The Lord of the Rings, which is, of course, the basis for everything I liked in middle school until I discovered comic books.

And the really stupid thing is: seventh-grade me probably would have resented a lot of what I try to get away with in Cold Cereal. “That’s not what goblins are like,” I would have said. “There’s no such thing as a unicat.” But I think I would have read it anyway for the humor because I was also big in Douglas Adams at the time. And still am.

Scieszka: Two two-part questions: What is the best or worst cereal commercial you’ve ever seen? And why? What is your most favorite or most hated breakfast cereal? And why?

Rex: As a kid I actually wasn’t allowed any of the kind of “sugar cereals” that the Goodco Cereal Company makes in my book. Which is probably why the commercials made such an impression on me. I was like Lancelot, offered a glimpse of the Sangrail but not allowed to enter into its presence. You see what I did there? Tied together breakfast cereal and the Arthurian legends? That’s what’s called “staying on point.”

I think the worst commercial I ever saw was an eighties spot for Apple Jacks. A group of girls are sitting around talking about how great Apple Jacks are, as girls do, and the main girl’s dad butts in and asks why the girls like them if they don’t even taste like apples. The girls look at one another, stumped and flustered, until the daughter blurts out, “We just do, okay?” “Okay.” Dad shrugs and leaves. And when he’s out of earshot, the main girl tells her friends, “He’s old,” and they all giggle. Even as a kid I knew this commercial failed on every level.

My favorite cereal commercial was anytime there was a crazy mix-up at the Crunchberry factory.

Scieszka: The brother and sister spats and tricks between Erno and Emily and Scott and Polly are so real that I have to ask: Do you have an annoying younger, older, or twin sister?

Rex: I was the annoying younger brother. But we got along better than most. I also have a sister who's twelve years younger—too young to have been a source of any conflict in my life. If anything, I wanted my younger sister to tag along on my outings—I got more attention from teenage girls when she did.

I think I developed my sense of sibling rivalry from watching my childhood best friend’s family. They fought so much they even had their own family-only derogatory term for each other: “buh.” “You’re being a buh,” they’d tell a brother or sister who was judged at that moment to be difficult or annoying. It’s an excellent word and one I hope to teach to my own children someday.

Scieszka: The briefly described musical of Huckleberry Finn sounds perfectly awful. Can you share any more details about Oh Huck! with us?

Rex: Well, as the book says, the play’s narrator is a talking raft (Riff-Raft), and it features a rapping scarecrow. I also imagine it to be the sort of Julie Taymor–inspired production where the Mississippi is represented by a hundred dancers in leotards doing the worm or whatever. And in our supposedly post-racial society, Jim is played by Nathan Lane. But that’s all I can say about it.

Scieszka: What more can you tell us about the next two books in this promised “Magically Delicious New Trilogy”?

Rex: In book two, Unlucky Charms, my heroes will travel to England, attempt to expose the queen as two goblins in a queen suit, travel to the enchanted isles of Pretannica to plead for humanity from Queen Titania herself, and possibly slay a dragon while they’re there. Along the way they’ll accidentally ingest the Salmon of Knowledge; learn the true history of Arthur, King of the Britons; and if I have time, face the unspeakable terror of the Ronopolisk. Probably not that last thing.

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8-Scott thinks he's a little weird-until he meets Erno and Emily, their friend Biggs, who is very big indeed, and a leprechaun named Mick. This odd team must thwart the evil cereal company that is trying to take over the world. The equally excellent sequel is Unlucky Charms (2013). Audio version available from Listening Library.α(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

More About the Author

Adam Rex grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, the middle of three children. He now lives in Tucson with his physicist wife Marie.
His picture book FRANKENSTEIN MAKES A SANDWICH, a collection of stories about monsters and their problems, was a New York Times Bestseller. 2007 saw the release of his first novel, THE TRUE MEANING OF SMEKDAY.
Garlic and crosses are useless against Adam. Sunlight has been shown to be at least moderately effective. A silver bullet does the trick. Pretty much any bullet, really.

Customer Reviews

Me and my son have been reading this book.
Mr and Mrs Michael Alexander
I adore foodie characters even more than the foods they advertise, and this novel does them justice!
Bridgette Marie
And I read a lot of books --books that I generally really like-- so that's saying something.
Kara Lynn Russell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jana Taylor VINE VOICE on March 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I got this for my 8 year old and read it first to see if I think it would be appropriate for him and if he'd like it. My verdict is that a lot of the content would be "over his head", but that he'd appreciate the characters.
There is no "bad language", there are two allusions to cuss words but none are spoken. There is some violence there are references to "untimely" deaths, there are some instances where people get guns pointed at them and/or shot at (no one ever gets shot though), and there are some other assorted scary parts but no one gets seriously hurt. There is a part about how one character's mom has an endless parade of "dad's" coming in and out of their lives and I found that part unnecessary and it displeased me greatly. If you want to have a single parent that is one thing, but don't have her be a revolving door!

My own feelings on the book were that I personally enjoyed reading it, and at just over 400 pages I was able to do it in an evening and part of the next morning.

The story gets moving very quickly out of the gate - important for young readers. It combines every day situations (school interactions for instance) with very whimsical characters and I think that will hold the interest of most young readers. There are a lot of funny lines thrown in for good measure that will appeal to a wide age range. For instance there is a dialogue between two main characters discussing the lax nature of their schools' attitude toward education because February they celebrated "Slacks History Month" which they theorize was due to a typo. This being said, my 8 year old did not get the joke until I explained it to him. So I think some of the humor might be lost on the younger readers.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on February 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
(posting this for my 11-year-old son).

I'm a fan of the MT Anderson books about Pals in Peril and I thought this one would be funny and weird like that, but it's not really like that. Reading this book, I had a hard time telling what was going on. There were too many things going on at the same time, and people talking, but I couldn't tell where they were. There were a lot of different kinds of creatures in the book, and I didn't know why they were there. I kept trying to read, but finally I gave up. I can't really recommend this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kale on February 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Scott and his friends Emily and Erno find there's more than milk in their morning munchies and those goofy cartoony characters on the breakfast cereal boxes aren't just imaginary mascots in this surreal adventure brought to you by the good folks at Goodco.

Sixth-grade becomes a bit strange when Scott and his family have to move to the tiny town of Goodborough, N.J.. The change becomes difficult as Scott starts seeing strange creatures and having migraines. This seems to be the least of his problems when the figments start talking to him and telling stories of stolen magic and bizarre business practices. Along with his new sidekicks Erno and Emily, Scott will start to unravel the secrets of the local cereal company, and uncover a conspiracy by the not so good people at Goodco.

Modernity crashes into fairytales like a Coney Island freak show plopped in the middle of Wall Street in Adam Rex's meal of the day, Cold Cereal. It's a strange thought that that Trix-like rabbit is really a Phouka, but believable in an evil genius kind of way. Fans of the fey will appreciate the re-imagined oddities advertisers use to brainwash children into bullying parents to buy their products as real life legends of lore. Cold Cereal is a crazy insane take on the world of fairy. Rex has an uncanny way of grounding his inane ideas of classic folklore with commercialism. Illustrations sprinkled throughout the book add a feeling of finding that coveted toy in the cereal box, while at the same time enhancing the reader's imaginative visuals of this unique world.

Author Adam Rex might have gone off the rails a little here and there but his tale of tweens and fey is interesting and different for even the biggest kids, making Cold Cereal a great story time book sure to capture the imagination of children and adults alike.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Villeneuve on October 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What a great concept! An evil cereal company with a secret plot to be carried out through unsuspecting consumers (Children)? Magic, intrigue, secrets and strange characters? How could you lose? Well, unfortunately, I can tell you how - keep adding more and more history, details, characters and plot twists until you have no idea what is going on. Or add several historical monologues given by characters that are meant to divulge some key plot point, but only leave the reader(s) slack-jawed, wondering what the point of all that was. I don't want to spoil the plot if you plan on reading this, so I won't be too specific, but if Arthurian figures mixed with leprechauns, time travel, giants that live in tree houses and magical creatures (and their hunters) sounds like a coherent read to you - go for it! To me and my kids (ages 7, 9 and 11) that tried desperately to get through and like this book, it just didn't work. For about 100 pages we laughed at the crazy fantasy that was unfolding and liked the mystery of the clues that were left as a game for two of the characters. For the next 100 pages, we sort of followed the story and got enjoyment out of some of the one liners delivered by the characters. For the last 200+ pages we got confused, bored, frustrated and finally just begged for it to be over. I guarantee you, after 390 pages, no kid reading this book is going to care what the characters are sitting in/on while trying to wrap up this story. Yet, there it was in detail. I'm sorry if this seems snippy or trivial, but giving my impressions and those of my kids right after finally finishing the book seemed like the best way to convey the feeling the book left us with - which I guess in short is: "Totally not worth it".
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