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Kid vs. Squid Hardcover – May 11, 2010

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6 Thatcher is reluctantly sent to spend the summer between sixth and seventh grades helping his great-uncle Griswald run his Museum of the Strange and Curious on the boardwalk of the fictional coastal tourist town of Las Huesas, CA. When a girl, Shoal, breaks into the museum and steals a witch's head, Thatcher pursues her. He soon finds himself in a world of maritime monsters that might just might be plotting to destroy civilization. He allies himself with Trudy, a girl with the tools and the talents of a detective, and eventually with Shoal, to save the world. (The Squid doesn't appear until the end, but it's worth the wait.) Van Eekhout carefully balances his tongue in his cheek with some really creepy situations, and the result is a humorous fantasy that will rush over young readers like a tidal wave. Walter Minkel, Austin Public Library, TX
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Thatcher Hill is a little mortified to be spending the summer with his weird great-uncle Griswald in his superweird Museum of Curiosities on the coast. And things just keep on getting weirder and weirder after a young girl breaks into the museum and absconds with the What-Is-It?? (which might be a severed head in a box, or just a wrinkled old melon). It turns out that she is a princess of the cursed people of Atlantis, who are doomed to spend their winters floating half drowned at sea and their summers hawking schlock on the boardwalk. Thatcher, helped by the princess and another girl, dukes it out with a slimy, scaly, betentacled cast of monsters (controlled by the head in the What-Is-It??) to try to find a way to reverse the curse. The internal logic of the story is joyfully convoluted and not even close to airtight, and although the book is better at being funny than being exciting, it does offer a fair share of both en route to the showdown promised by the title. Grades 4-7. --Ian Chipman
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; 1 edition (May 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599904896
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599904894
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,135,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Greg van Eekhout writes novels for adults and young readers, typically characterized by mayhem, banter, weirdness, and action. His first novel, Norse Code, was a finalist for the Locus Award for Best First Novel. His middle-grade novel, The Boy at the End of the World, was a nominee for the Andre Norton Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy award.
He lives in Southern California, where two seismic plates crash into each other and give rise to disaster and mayhem.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. Meisner on June 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My nine-year-old son loved this book so much that the day after he finished reading it on his own, he brought the book to me so we could read it again together -- the story was so good that he wanted to share it with everyone! We took turns reading out loud to each other, pausing to repeat and savor especially funny lines. That happened on every page, because this book is packed with hilarious bits. It's also a terrific adventure story, with weirdly fantastic creatures, fast-moving action, smart kids, and a good-natured sincerity running through it all. The writing is sharp and original, a pleasure to read. My son says this is one of the coolest books he's ever read, and he keeps talking about wanting a sequel! Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on June 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
[Typing this for my son, who is 10 years old]

This book is really really really wonderful because it is fun to read and hilarious. The plot was probably the most creative plot that you will read this year. For example, that everybody turns out to be happy, instead of one victory. It's not just good guys versus bad guys.

Books usually have two characters, but this one has three main characters, Thatcher is the main-main character, Trudy is important, and Shoal is quite important, too. Trudy is a bit of a hero; she's the one saying what Skalla the witch wants. All the characters are hilarious, and Thatcher is funny because he uses his talking as a weapon and also it's hilarious that he thinks that the kelp-farming implement is a "sword." I loved that part.

I loved a lot more things about this book which I can't even name right now. I would recommend this book to kids who like funny fantasy adventures. It's my favorite book of the year so far.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By B. Capossere TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Kid vs. Squid, by Greg van Eekhout, s a YA book aimed pretty squarely at the younger YA set. It comes in at a slim sub-200 pages (with pretty good-sized print) and doesn't take much time with detailed description, rich character development, or intricate plotting. That isn't a complaint; it's just to say that this is a book that knows who its audience is and while it won't dumb things down or talk down to its readers, it also won't stretch them. Keeping to relatively humble standards of that sort, it succeeds pretty solidly.

Middle-school age Thatcher has been sent to his Uncle Griswald's in Las Huesas, California for the summer. The beach town is oddly empty of beach-goers and Uncle Griswald lives in a tiny "museum" filled with shrunken heads, ships in bottles, strangely shaped bodies, and a "What-is-it" box he isn't supposed to look into.

Things turn even stranger within a few pages as the box is stolen by young girl and soon Thatcher, the burglar (who turns out to be a princess), and another young girl (Trudy) are caught up in an ancient curse, the fall of Atlantis, and a battle against the head of a witch (yes, just the head) and her sea creature minions.

The plot is fast-paced and pretty straightforward and there isn't much time between events, especially at the close which feels a bit over-rushed and busy. The characters are clear but not particularly deep or rich. Thatcher tells us he's a sarcastic, sometimes funny kid who uses words as defense/weapons (sometimes to a fault), but his wry humor is hit and miss throughout--sometimes right on and sometimes feeling forced or falling flat. And one never feels particularly attached to him. The same is true of Shoal, the princess, who is off-stage for the vast majority of the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on September 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Thatcher is spending the summer with his eccentric uncle, Griswald, on the boardwalk at his museum of curiosities. Amongst the museum is a box that his uncle refers to as the What-Is-It.

When a mysterious girl steals the What-Is-It, Thatcher catches up with her and confronts her about her theft. When she tells him that she is the princess of Atlantis and is cursed to stay in the water all winter and run the stands along the boardwalk during the summer, Thatcher decides to help her, but ends up wrapped up in the curse himself!

Can Thatcher and the princess save themselves and Atlantis before it's too late? What really is the What-Is-It?

This is a fast-paced, humorous adventure. The characters are well-developed, and the story is unique and entertaining. Reluctant and avid readers alike who enjoy adventure, fantasy, and fast-moving stories will all enjoy reading KID VS. SQUID.

Reviewed by: Kira M
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By Lelia Rose Foreman on January 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Squeeeeeee! This fun novel leaves me wanting to sleep in a hammock in the cleaning closet of an oddities museum. Okay, so the crazy uncle is a bit of a problem, though I'm not sure why the protagonist Thatcher thinks that talking to seagulls is an indication of his craziness. I've talked to every bowl and table in the house, and live things like the dogs and chickens, and I'm not crazy. Pretty sure, anyway. And as it turns out, the uncle had a good reason to talk to the seagull.
The museum reminded me of Marsh's Museum at Longbeach, Washington, back when I was a little girl and all the music player machines worked and it had a lot more nasty things in jars than it does now. The whale skeleton has disintegrated, the museum has moved across the street, and the aisles have widened. But it is still the home of Jake the alligator boy.
One slowly finds out the entire town is a museum of oddities, and then there is Atlantis, and a princess, and badboy squids. And then comes battle. And then....
I was surprised by the ending. It doesn't end with a lot of slashing and cutting. Oh wait, there is cutting. But not the kind you are thinking of. I was so pleased that Thatcher could go beyond dichotomies and find a third way.
I can recommend this book to anybody who likes fantasy.
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