Amazon Best Books of the Month, December 2009
: What's a family to do when its scientist-inventor-dad builds a time machine that governments, super spies with chimpanzees, and just about every evil organization in the world want to get their hands on--at any cost? Run for their lives, of course! In the very first chapter, the recently widowed Ethan Cheeseman, and his three "smart, pleasant, witty, attractive, polite, and relatively odor free" kids are roused from their beds in the wee hours of the morning by their trusty canine alarm system--their psychic and hairless dog, Pinky. They pack up the family station wagon and head out of town, eluding the bad guys by mere seconds. In this fast-paced and very humorous adventure, the Cheeseman clan hits the highway in search of a new home where they can settle down and be a normal family (whatever that is). Along the way, they use their smarts to outwit and outpace the bad guys. Every page of this debut novel, narrated by the unusual Dr. Cuthbert Soup, is full of snappy dialogue, unexpected twists and turns, and unsolicited advice on subjects ranging from how to choose a dog to timely advice on time travel. Middle grade readers who dig the tongue-twisters, quirky villains, hilarious hijinx, and brave and brainy kids of the Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch
will find lots to laugh-out-loud about in a A Whole Nother Story
. --Lauren Nemroff
From School Library Journal
Grade 4–7—Ethan Cheeseman, genius scientist, has invented the Luminal Velocity Regulator, a device that supposedly enables travel that is faster than the speed of light. Unfortunately, when spies, corporation thugs, and shady governmental organizations hear about the machine, they try to steal it, killing Ethan's wife in the process. The scientist and his children (ages 8, 12, and 14) have been on the run ever since, relying on their clairvoyant dog, Pinky, to keep them one step ahead of the bad guys. When the family finally finds a town in which they hope to settle, the villains swoop down to steal the LVR, but the kids, their new friends, and a busload of circus sideshow performers save the day. There is plenty of quirky, offbeat humor and little pathos in this tale. However, the narrative bristles with asides and bad jokes, and the author interrupts the story with short chapters giving advice on tattoos, choosing a doctor, and other matters. The inanity can be wearing and the characters (except for the youngest Cheeseman's sock puppet, Steve) don't quite gel into fully realized people. Still, those who enjoyed Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" (HarperCollins) will find some of the same surreal qualities in this first book in a series—and a bit more warmth besides.—Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library
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