Monday, August 29, 2011


FIRST: Have you entered to win a signed copy of FOREVER by Maggie Stiefvater? Go HERE to do that.

So, for those of you who don't know, Marvelous Middle Grade Monday ( aka MMGM) was started by Shannon Whitney Messenger, writer and blogger and WriteOnCon organizer extraordinaire, because she thought that middle grade books deserved a little more attention on the interwebz. And I agree!

So this week, I'm spotlighting a book that I really liked, and that my 8-year-old son (who reads up, so don't go thinking that this is a chapter book) LOVED.

JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW, by Nathan Bransford, is a tale of three kids who trade a corn dog for a spaceship and accidentally break the universe. Here's the jacket copy: "Jacob Wonderbar has had a weird day. First there was that incident with the substitute teacher and the sprinklers. (Okay, maybe that wasn't so unusual for Jacob.) Then he and his best friends, Sarah and Dexter, discovered a silver man and a spaceship in the woods near their houses. Weirdest of all? The man offered to trade his ship for a corn dog! It sounded like a pretty good deal to Jacob, until he and his friends took their new ship for a test ride...and accidentally broke the universe. Now they must fend off space pirates, escape a planet that smells like burp breath - and find a way back home, before it's too late for them and their friendship.

The first book in debut author Nathan Bransford's hilarious planet-hopping series proves that all good adventures really do start with a corn dog."

I really liked this book. The action moves along at a good pace and the characters are well-done. I loved that Sarah Daisy's desire to appear as strong as the guys is actually as much of a flaw as a strength, and Jacob and Dexter both proved to be less caricature and more character, which was a real plus. The adventures they found themselves on were hilarious, as were many of the side characters, including but not limited to the villainous mischief-maker Mick Cracken. Additionally, this book shows that Bransford has honed an almost impeccable sense of comedic timing, which pops up throughout the book to great effect (as my son's giggling and guffawing proved). Finally, I really, really liked the way Bransford handled the best-friend-crush issues between two of the characters. Twelve years old is a time when kids start to feel extra-fond of their BFF but don't really know why, and I think Bransford navigated that murky territory extremely well here. He didn't ignore it, but he didn't make a huge deal out of it either, and I think he did a great job with that aspect of the storytelling.

Basically, if you have a kid between the ages of 8 and 12, this book is a really good bet.

And I'm giving away a copy to one lucky follower in the US or Canada!

To win, here's what you have to do:

  • Follow this blog. (Old followers +2, New followers +1)
  • Comment on this post. (+1)
  • OPTIONAL FOR EXTRA ENTRIES: MyFacePlusSpace, with links in the comments, for +3 per link; Tweet it, with links in the comments, for +1 per tweet (up to +5); dedicate a blog post to it, with link in the comments, for +3; Put it in your blog sidebar, with link in the comments, for +5
That's it! Contest will close on FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, AT 11:59pm PST (that's 2:59AM on Saturday for East-Coasters).

This book rocks, guys, so spread the word!

And for more Marvelous Middle Grade, check out Shannon's blog HERE for her post and links to other MMGM bloggers!


  1. Great review. And I'm so glad you're spotlight middle grade on Mondays.

    I already read Jacob Wonderbar and agree with your review. I loved Sarah. Let someone else win the giveaway because I read this one and gave it away at Literary Rambles.

  2. Nathan's book has been getting good buzz - sounds like a great read for me and my 9 year old. Thanks for the opportunity!
    +2 old follower

  3. I am looking forward to seeing more of your reviews. This book has been on my TBR for a while it would be great to win a copy.

  4. Have you read Calvin and Hobbes? I saw a lot of similarities between Calvin and Jacob. Thanks for the great review!

  5. Hi, Ishta! Welcome to MMGM!!

    Great review of Jacob Wonderbar. (It's on my TBR pile, of course.)

  6. I can't wait for my 8 y.o. to read this! (I've been following on Google Reader, does that count?)