Archive for the ‘Marc Carman’ Category

[LISTENED TO: December 29, 2014] Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware

delWe are now hooked on the Pals in Peril series.  This, the third book, promised to be the funniest and weirdest yet.  I mean, look at the title.

But this book proved problematic for us for two somewhat related reasons.  The first is that we usually listen to longer books like this when we have a lot of driving to do.  We didn’t have any major big drive ahead so we wound up listening in small chunks, which was a little confusing.  The kids were able to follow quite well, but after a couple of weeks some details are bound to get lost.  The second reason is that this book is long.  It was a 6 hour audio book as opposed to the 3 hours of the other two books.

The brevity of Whales on Stilts was a real treat.  In it, Anderson wrote that he didn’t like to write action scenes because they were all the same.  Same with chase scenes.  But in this book, he has our heroes slogging through the wilderness for literal days (and almost an entire disc).  It got a little samey, I feel–especially since we were listening in small chunks at a time.

This is not to say that the book wasn’t enjoyable. There were hundreds of hilarious moments in it.  Even in the duller sections, he often threw in an absurd joke (or ten) that made me laugh.  So maybe if we had listened all at once this would have held up better.  But honestly it was only the middle that was kind of trudging (when they were trudging) because the beginning and end were great.

This happens to be another book where reading it would have been entertaining in other ways–the characters of Delaware have virtually no vowels in their names.  Mark Cashman (who did another awesome job reading) does a fine job saying their names, but I had to find a print copy in the library because I needed to know how these crazy words were spelled.

So, what happens? (more…)

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[LISTENED TO: November 16, 2014] The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen

linoWe enjoyed Whales on Stilts so much that we were really excited to listen to this second book in the series.  However, this book, while featuring the same main trio, was actually quite different.

The gang has decided that they are going on vacation.  They’re a little bored (Katie’s mom has been doing things like cutting off her own hand just to freak out Jasper), so they take Jasper’s latest gadget and head up to the mountains for a little r n r (and a free dinner with the coupon that Jasper received).

When they get to the hotel (the Moose Tongue Lodge and Resort), they realize that they can’t afford a room, so Jasper’s gadget attaches to the side of the hotel and looks just like it is supposed to be a part of it (apparently).  Of course, when they leave their invasive bubble, they have to go out through someone else’s bathroom and he is terrified by the calamitous sound that Jasper’s gadget made while attaching to the building).  They also learn that the coupon for a free dinner was fake.

When Jasper reveals to the hotel clerk that he is indeed Jasper Dash, boy technonaut, the clerk reveals that he is but one of many literary super sleuths in residence that night.  The Manley Boys and the Hooper Quints are there, and so is Eddie Wax and the Cutesy Dell Twins.

Who?  (more…)

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[LISTENED TO: October 15, 2014] Whales on Stilts

whalesWhen this book came out it was hugely popular in my library.  I was very curious about the title–it’s crazy, right?  But I had no real sense of what the book was about (I wasn’t even sure if it was meant to be funny or a drama–it was on every reading list of that year but who knew why).  Well, had I ever looked at the book carefully I would have known it was a comedy and I would have realized that it was exactly the kind of comedy that I love.

This book is part one in Anderson’s Pals in Peril series.  I believe the series shares characters, but I’m not sure if it is necessary to read them in order (we’ll find out when we listen to Book 2 next week).  Of course there are more than three characters in this book, but the three main characters are: Jasper Dash, Boy Technonaut! and star of his own adventure series; Katie Mulligan, star of her own horror books series Horror Hollow; and Lily Gefelty, a girl who is friends with both of them.

What is wonderful about the book is that the narrator describes Lily as being remarkably unremarkable.  She hides behind her bangs, doesn’t want to be the center of attention and is grateful that her two superfriends have known her for longer than they have been famous.  And what is doubly wonderful is that Lily is the catalyst for solving the major crisis that is about to hit her town.  In fact, Lily is the first one to even suspect that anything is awry. (more…)

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