- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 0680 (What's this?)
- Series: Welcome to Wonderland (Book 2)
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (May 23, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780553536102
- ISBN-13: 978-0553536102
- ASIN: 0553536109
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Welcome to Wonderland #2: Beach Party Surf Monkey Hardcover – May 23, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—P.T. Wilkie and the crew from Home Sweet Motel return for a second adventure filled with drama, humor, and Hollywood flair. P.T. and his friend Gloria Ortega live in the Wonderland, a Florida beach motel run by P.T.'s grandfather Walt. The owner of the towering new hotel next door wants to buy the Wonderland. P.T. and Gloria hear about a movie being filmed in their neighborhood featuring two teen stars and YouTube performer Kevin the Monkey, and hoping to save the motel from the scheming hotel owner, they pitch the Wonderland as the perfect venue. Between P.T.'s plan and Gloria's business skills, the pair seem to have a chance, but then they encounter a selfish star, trouble from the rival hotel owner's daughter, and the monkey's surfing antics, leading to humorous and dramatic outcomes. The high jinks are nonstop, and the characters are engaging, if lightly sketched. Frequent cartoons and illustrations add to the humor and exaggerated characterizations. Fans of Grabenstein's other books, including several cowritten with James Patterson, will enjoy the humor, the fast-talking protagonist, and the escapades. VERDICT A quick, funny read, perfect for summer vacation.—Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WI
About the Author
Chris Grabenstein is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics, and The Island of Dr. Libris and has coauthored numerous bestselling books with James Patterson, including the I Funny, House of Robots, and Treasure Hunters series and Jacky Ha-Ha. Chris grew up going to St. Petersburg, Florida, every summer and loved visiting roadside attractions like Gatorland, the fabulous Tiki Gardens, Weeki Wachee Springs, and the “talking mermaids” at Webb’s City. You can visit Chris at chrisgrabenstein.com.
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Our two heroes are P.T., (named after P.T. Barnum), whose the fast talking idea man, and Gracie, who's the brains, planner, and financial officer for P.T.'s schemes. They are a well oiled machine, and it is a pleasure to see two great friends sharing equal time in a book like this. The kids are smart and resourceful, and the balance between practical Gracie and outside-the-box P.T. keeps the book racing along on an even keel.
It seems we're always trying to save the old family motel, and this time around the plan turns on making it the location for a surfer dude rom-com movie. So, you get P.T.'s schemes, a few villains trying to bring down the motel, touchy actors, a surfing monkey, and many, many complications.
But as before, we also get a lot of quick thinking, fast shuffling, improv, and antic action. That said, nothing about these books is dumb or patronizing. There are a lot of funny and perceptive throwaway lines, a few groaners, and a good deal of snappy dialogue. There are some pointed bits about fame, celebrity, crooked businessmen, and so on, which adds just a touch of occasional edge. Every character is a bit more than you might expect, and almost every scheme gets one more twist or angle than the bare minimum. So, even though this is aimed at younger readers it has a lot of style and wry humor, and it's always just a little bit more or a little bit better, or a little bit wiser, than it has to be.
Florida is, or course, the best place in which to set wacky and slightly skewed screwball adventures. Adult writers like Dave Barry, Carl Hiaasen, and Tim Dorsey have been mining this territory for years. It's nice to see that middle graders can share in the sunny, white sand, Gulf breeze nuttiness too. (Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
Chris Grabenstein returns to his wacky and wild Welcome to Wonderland series with the delightful and entertaining Beach Party Surf Monkey! With Grabenstein’s signature wit, compelling storytelling, and ability to keep his intended middle-grade audience captivated and enthralled, Beach Party Surf Monkey is wonderful from beginning to end.
Like the first book in this series, Beach Party Surf Monkey is fast-paced, cleverly plotted, and impossible to put down. Middle-grade readers will love the outrageous scenarios, bone-tickling humor, and engaging characters, while easily being swept into the fun behind-the-scenes look at what goes into making a movie, P.T. and Gloria’s motel-saving ideas, and the fun mystery weaved throughout. Once again, the Wonderland Motel, with its beach front location; retro look; kitschy decor; and endless over-the-top stories, makes for a charming setting that readers will love and want to protect as much as P.T. and Gloria.
One of things I love most about this series are all the irresistibly likable (and sometimes deliciously unlikable) characters. From tall tale teller, P.T., smart and capable Gloria, endearingly kooky Grandpa Wilkie, an awesome internet famous monkey, a classy movie star, and a pain in the butt superstar, Beach Party Surf Monkey is bursting with larger than life characters to get to know and love.
Young readers looking for an off the charts fun, genuinely laugh-out-loud book to devour this summer will not be disappointed by Beach Party Surf Monkey!