Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Another Iggy Loomis Book

Back in October 2013, with a little help from my cats, I reviewed Jennifer Allison's very funny chapter book Iggy Loomis, Super Kid in Training on this blog. The cats and I just finished another Iggy Loomis book—Iggy Loomis, A Hagfish Called Shirleyand it was just as funny as the first one. If you haven't read the first one yet—no problem. You'll understand this one just fine.

Publisher's Weekly pretty much nails what the Iggy Loomis books are about: "Allison creates a comically put-upon older brother in Daniel in a lighthearted story that captures the chaos of everyday family life, superpowers or not." 

Tanner: "It's got fish in it? This might be interesting."

Once again, the story is narrated by Daniel, whose younger brother Iggy has some strange powers of the insect variety. Once again, Daniel's best friend Alastair, the alien next door, provides interesting and sometimes hilarious plot complications. The complication in A Hagfish called Shirley is that Alistair brought a hagfish back from the beach and wants to make a pet of it. He's even named the slimy creature Shirley. Unfortunately Iggy flushes Shirley down the toilet and, well, complications ensue.

Jim-Bob: "Move Chloe. I get to read it first."
Chloe: "Jim-Bob, you need to learn to share."

Obviously, the boys want to get the fish back, but Alistair's dad has taken away Alistair's watch that can do cool techno-things, so the boys decide to use Iggy's powers, which luckily Iggy's twin sister Dottie can help with.

Chloe: "I'm glad the girl character gets to do important stuff."

Jim-Bob: "Yeah, yeah. But she's not the main character.
The boys do the most important stuff."

The cats were impressed that a pet plays such an important role in the book. They really liked the letter Alistair writes to his beloved Shirley.

But they were frightened by the slime monster that imprisoned a lot of pets—including cats! 

Chloe: "Oh, no. A whole bunch of pets go missing!"
Jim-Bob: "What!? Let me see that!"

Jim-Bob: "Ewwww! Imagine getting slime all over your fur."

George: "This is getting too scary! All those missing pets!
Chloe and Jim-Bob, y'all tell me what happens, OK?"

Tanner: "I'll skip to the end and find out what happens.
It looks like all of the pets are OK."

But what about the main characters? Are they OK? What happens in the sewer? And on the spaceship? What becomes of Shirley, and how does she help Alistair's dad?  Looks like the cats missed a lot. You'll just have to read about all those adventures for yourself. Cats are so not interested in sewers or spaceships.

Jim-Bob: "Aww, there's not more?!
I want another Iggy Lomis story!"
Iggy Loomis, A Hagfish Called Shirley is a humorous science fiction story much more suited to elementary-age boys than to cats. It has plenty of gross stuff to appeal to that demographic—poop, slime, sewers, etc. Plus there's the school stuff—the science project, homework, Chauncey the bully—and other things that kids can relate to—parents not understanding, pesky younger siblings, etc. 

And there's some stuff the average kid can't relate to but probably wishes he could— a kid brother with super powers, a visit aboard the alien spacecraft, and parents who peel off their human disguises and hang them over a chair at night. 

Iggy Loomis, A Hagfish Called Shirley is a fun and fast-paced read with great illustrations by Mike Moran. The author also sneaks in a little science, at least where hagfishes are concerned. If you're looking for a great Christmas present for young boys, Iggy Loomis, A Hagfish Called Shirley might be it.

Tanner: "Is this book review over?
I want to go back to sleep."

Sleep tight, Tanner. And don't let the hagfish bite.


Blogger Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

I think my 2nd grader would love this book. Especially the piece about the technical watch. That kid is obsessed with all watches!

5:56 PM  
Blogger CountryDew said...

What a great review.

1:40 PM  

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