Chapter Books – Whales on Stilts!

Katie Mulligan is the star of her own book series, Horror Hollow, in which she regularly battles werewolves and vampires. Jasper Dash, Boy Technonaut, has his own, though less popular nowadays, series about his adventures as a boy genius inventor. And then there is Lily Gefelty. Lily is friends with both Katie and Jasper, but she’s boring, boring, boring. She is fully convinced that she could never be as brave or as smart as either of her two best friends.

Then Lily visits her father’s workplace on Career Day, and realizes that not only is his boss Larry actually a whale/human hybrid, but that he is planning to take over the world. Next Thursday. Her father doesn’t believe her. (“We’re building stilts for whales. Oh, and eye lasers. What’s ominous about that?”) But Lily is well aware that if she, Katie, and Jasper can’t stop Larry, the world as they know it will end. But are they up to the challenge?

This book was hilarious. I couldn’t stop laughing, to the point that when I came back from my lunch break, I was giggling so hard I had to go into a backroom so only my coworkers would think I was crazy, instead of everyone who walked into the library. I think kids will find it just as funny, but I’m not 100% sure. Some of the jokes depended on the reader understanding the tropes of children’s series fiction, from the old-school “wonder boy” dime novels to more modern formula novels aimed at middle school girls. As not only an adult, but also a librarian, I thought those particular jokes were hysterical, but I’m not completely sure that children will agree. There are enough other types of jokes, though, that anyone reading it will find something to laugh at. If nothing else, the complete absurdity of the plot will amuse some people.

While there is some character development on the part of Lily, this is not exactly a character-driven novel. But it knows that. It’s a classic adventure story, poking fun at classic adventure stories, and having a great time doing so. Author M. T. Anderson – whose work runs from philosophical historical fiction to futuristic dystopians and everything in between – clearly knows what he’s doing here. I will be recommending this book to everyone I see in the next few days, and as soon as this is published, I’m going to get my hands on the next book in the series.

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