Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Middle-Grade Review: Boom!

On our way back from a camping weekend in the Catskills recently, we got stuck in traffic that turned our 4-hour drive into a 9-hour drive.  Fortunately, I had brought along a new audio book, Boom! by Mark Haddon, that kept all four of us captivated and laughing the whole way home.  Mark Haddon is the author of the award-winning adult novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Jim, aka Jimbo, lives in London with his parents and sister.  When his older sister tells him he’s about to be expelled from school and sent away to military school, Jimbo knows she might be just teasing him…but he’s not sure.  He confers with his best friend, Charlie, who is always looking for some excitement in his life.  Charlie comes up with a brilliant plan to bug the teacher’s lounge at school, so they can hear for themselves what the teachers are (or are not) saying about Jimbo’s future.

They follow through with their plan and hear a bunch of boring teacher talk, until everyone else has left except for Mr. Kidd and Ms. Pearce.  They don’t know what to think of what they hear next:  their two teachers speaking in a strange language to each other.  When they speak one of the strange words to Mr. Kidd later and his eyes glow with a radiant blue light, they know that something very strange is going on at their school.  The two friends begin to investigate their teachers’ bizarre behavior, but soon they are in the midst of an adventure they never could have imagined.

Our whole family – including 12-year old Craig and 16-year old Jamie – loved this audio book.  It’s full of suspense and adventure, but it is also hilarious.  We were all laughing out loud at the odd cast of characters, frantic antics of Jimbo and Charlie, and the out-of-this-world plot.  If you enjoy the British style of humor, this book is for you!  Some (perhaps younger kids) may find the British accent of the reader and the British slang hard to understand, but we loved every minute of it and felt that its British-ness was a definite plus.  Great fun for middle-grade readers or for a family road trip!

Listening Library

Download an audio clip to listen to a sample of Boom!

BOOK:      AUDIO: 

1 comment:

Jan von Harz said...

I am always up for a book that is laugh out loud funny. That was how Paper Town was from me, at least in parts. I will have to look into Boom as it sounds like a book I should have available to my students too.