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A Whole Nother Story Hardcover – December 22, 2009

92 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Whole Nother Story Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 900L (What's this?)
  • Series: A Whole Nother Story
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (December 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599904357
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599904351
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Dr. Cuthbert Soup was born in Vienna, Austria, at the height of the Great Sausage Famine. At twenty-three he dropped out of high school and moved to New York City, where he landed a gig playing elevator music. He was soon fired, however, as his trombone kept smacking other people in the elevator. He is currently the founder and president of the National Center for Unsolicited Advice, where he has served as an unofficial advisor to CEOs and heads of state, and has given countless inspirational lectures to unsuspecting crowds. In his spare time he enjoys cajoling, sneering, and practicing the trombone in crowded areas. Dr. Soup currently resides in a semi-secret location somewhere in the United States. This is his first book.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Kate Coombs VINE VOICE on January 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I'd better start at the beginning, which goes like this, in the timelessly elegant prologue by Dr. Cuthbert Soup:

"If I could give you all just one word of advice, it would be... well, an incomplete sentence. Besides being grammatically iffy, I'm sure you'd agree that a single word of advice is rarely of much use. Even the phrase 'Look out!' (which could prove to be life-saving advice--especially where large falling objects or missing manhole covers are concerned) is two words.

"To simply shout out 'Look!' to a friend as a tuba falls from a ninth-story window toward his unsuspecting head will, at best, only serve to make sure he gets a good look at the tuba before it parades him, unceremoniously, into the sidewalk."

I have to say, any author who can use "parade" as a verb in quite that way is a man after my own heart. Assuming the author is a man--who knows? A Whole Nother Story is very much in the vein of Lemony Snickett as far as having a goofy invented author/narrator, odd interpositions, and a tongue-in-cheek tone.

Cuthbert Soup introduces himself and then the true heroes of our story: Mr. Ethan Cheeseman and, more important, his three children, who have no friends despite being "smart, pleasant, witty, attractive, polite, and relatively odor free." But their father is one of those handy fictional characters who has invented a very dangerous machine, the subject of a search by a super-secret government agency, spies from an Eastern European country, and the representatives of an evil corporation. In fact, one of those groups arranged the death of Mrs. Olivia Cheeseman two years earlier.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Browne on December 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I'm hoping that nobody notices that Santa read the copy that was under the Christmas tree! What a terrific read. I've been telling my husband my favorite parts, but there are too many to list here. If you're looking for a book that will keep you entertained while you read it to your kids or one that you want to read when they're done, this is it. The humor appeals to young and old alike with enough adventure and twists and turns to keep all levels interested. A great find. Hope there will be more from Dr. Soup.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Usedipoduser on December 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A perfect book for any age. As an adult reading to my children I had to stop several times because I was laughing so hard. The suspense also had us all on the edge of our seats. My children loved the adventure and laughed out loud on every, or at least every other, page! A great choice for a clean, exciting adventure book loaded with humor. Loved it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T. Fleming on December 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a great story for all ages. The humor is clean and clever. We especially loved the "unsolicited advice" given throughout the story. Cuthbert Soup is on our list of new favorite authors. Can't wait for the sequel!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By BigSur on May 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As a fifth grade teacher, I'm constantly on the lookout for new stories to get my students interested in reading. Well, I hit the jackpot with this one. I love exposing kids to a wide range of stories, and I really think this one is pretty original and different than most others out there. This has to be one of my favorite read-aloud books of all time, because of the wide variety of characters (and accents) I'm able to portray as we read aloud. The book contains a lot of humor that might go over some kids' heads, but there is plenty that does not. I didn't really know what to expect, and I liked it that way. The story has a great pay-off and yes, it leads to a sequel. But my class was unanimous in their approval of this story and groaned every day when I had to stop. If you want a break from Percy Jackson, give this book a try. I think you'll be glad you did!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on February 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
With a lively spirit full of good humor, exhilarating adventure and much thoughtful advice, Dr. Cuthbert Soup narrates this quirky tale of one gifted inventor who is on the run with his family. The Cheesemans have been forced into hiding, fleeing rival spies and thugs who are all eager to get their hands on the time machine Ethan has been building. Accompanied by Pinky the psychic dog and Steve the notoriously sassy sock puppet, the family packs into their station wagon, making modifications to the device as they go.

The story begins as Ethan is nearing the end of his labor on the time machine when the Cheesemans are visited by top-secret agents who suddenly show up on their doorstep. These spies first appeal to the Cheesemans to simply hand over the device, playing the card that "it is all for the greater good" but with clearly unscrupulous motives. Ethan's wife, Olivia, courageously refuses and shuts the door in their faces, only to fall prey shortly after to an unexplained illness. Olivia's failing health prompts her to see a physician, a man who seems shady and suspicious. Sadly enough, she succumbs to her ailment quickly, leaving behind three children (Barton, Saffron and Crandall), all of whom will miss her dearly.

The tragic loss of his wife makes it all too clear that the invention has put them in peril, but it also changes Ethan's purpose as traveling back in time is now the only possible way of reuniting with her. After Pinky warns the family of more thugs on the way, they pack up and leave for good, keeping the machine safe in the back of the car. Their travels take them to many new places and homes, all of which they must leave in short time.
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