Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Review: Nightmare at the Book Fair by Dan Gutman

Nightmare at the Book Fair
Author: Dan Gutman
Publication: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing; 1 Reprint edition (May 18, 2010)

Description: Trip Dinkleman hates to read. Hates, hates, hates it.

All he wants to do is play lacrosse. So when the president of the PTA asks Trip to help her out on his way to tryouts, he is not happy. He is even more not happy when a stack of books tumbles onto his head and knocks him out cold. And he is even more not happy when he wakes up and has absolutely no idea where he is. Now all he wants to do is get home. But after encountering a haunted house, aliens, talking animals, and much, much more, he realizes getting home might be just a little bit harder to do than he thought.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this story of a boy who doesn't like to read. Trip Dinkleman is helping to set up the book fair when a bunch of books fall on his head. When he wakes up he finds himself in a wide variety of genre books. Each chapter is a different genre ranging from science fiction, to mystery, to reference books, to easy readers. 

Each chapter tells a story that highlights a lot of the tropes of each genre in a humorous way. I found myself giggling as I was reading but don't know if middle graders will get some of the jokes. I liked the recurring them of Trip searching for funnel cakes in most of the settings. I also liked that some characters kept reappearing in the chapters like his best friend Lionel and a cute girl named Carrie.

I had a number of favorite chapters. Chapter 6: Humor had a villain who spoke only in idioms. I didn't realize it was possible to hold a whole conversation using only idioms. Chapter 7: Mystery had a wonderful, hard boiled detective transplanted from the classic mysteries like the Sam Spade stories and Bogart movies. The Easy Reader Chapter with apologies to Dr. Seuss had me laughing out loud a few times.

I recommend this book for middle graders and think it could be a great introduction genres of fiction.

Favorite Quotes:
"Why are you trying to kill me, Lionel?" I stuttered. "We're best friends! Wh-what did I do?"

"You know perfectly well what you did, Dinkleman!" he said. "Don't play dumb."

I wasn't playing dumb. I was dumb.
And my new favorite:
He read in silence or when there was a racket.
He never went out without a dust jacket. 

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a great tween read, and I love the cover! I'm wondering if male, reluctant readers would like it... or if it's more up the alley of people who already enjoy/understand book-ish jokes? What do you think?


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