James Kochalka has always had a penchant for the outright silly. If nothing else his Johnny Boo series of books have said as much. He’s not afraid to go for the obvious gag, but at the same time his sheer willingness to get ridiculous sort of becomes his strength. I picked up The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza uncertain if it would be honestly funny or just trying too hard, and you know what? There was more than one time I thought this book was actually, honestly really funny. It’s the kind of funny best appreciated by younger kids too. Your Captain Underpants / Junie B. Jones crowd. Humor is, admittedly, so completely subjective that adults have a hard time remembering what it’s like to be a kid and to find just the most ridiculous thing in a story freakin’ hilarious. But reading about The Glorkian Warrior I couldn’t help but feel like this was one book where Kochalka really put his finger down firmly on the pulse of kid-humor. Nothing against Johnny Boo or any of his other funny books over the years but with The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza I feel like the man has finally hit his stride. His funniest and most ambitious bit of space-based lunacy to date.
It’s a slow day for The Glorkian Warrior. No amazing adventures on the horizon. Nothing much going on. And though his Super Backpack is bugging him to go out and do something heroic, until the Emergency Space Phone rings our hero is out of ideas. Turns out the phone call is from someone ordering a pepperoni pizza and, not one to back down from a challenge, our Warrior sets off to complete this mission. Granted, the only pizza he has in his possession is the partially eaten peanut butter and clam concoction in his fridge. And granted, nothing seems to go according to plan. But between busting up his Supercar, blowing up a little bully (don’t worry, he’s not hurt), acquiring a baby space cat head sucker thing, and encountering a Magic Robot capable of mucking up time itself, it’s all in a day’s work for The Glorkian Warrior and his newfound pals.
I’m not one of those children’s librarians that claims to have the sense of humor of a 9-year-old kid. There are folks out there that can say this in perfect seriousness and though I do understand where they’re coming from, it’s not really my thing. After all, there are some works of children’s literature that just baffle me with their popularity. That said, I found myself grudgingly really liking what Kochalka was doing here. It’s no mean feat to create an honest-to-goodness quest novel that fills itself from tip to toe full of silliness. The tone in this book is also consistent throughout. It has a clear vision, even if the reader does not, and even manages at the last minute to pull a little surprise coup on the reader. So while it will not be to every adult’s taste, I have absolutely zippo problem with the kiddos picking it up. Heck, I’ll be recommending it to them myself. This is for the kid who wants something along the lines of Adventure Time but without the existential philosophy.
Not that there wasn’t at least one element that struck me as particularly fascinating. Put a little time travel into a book and you’ll find folks like myself examining it from every angle, no matter how silly it is, for inconsistencies. I’ll repeat that. I, a 35-year-old woman, read a children’s graphic novel called The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza and when I hit on the time travel aspect I looked for mistakes. Just put that in your pipe and smoke it for a while. For me, the only possible problem I could come up with was the fact that if The Glorkian Warrior called himself to order the pizza, why did he call his own number thinking it was a pizza delivery place? So, yeah. Continuity-wise it’s a bit shaky, but honestly if that’s what you take away from the book you’re probably looking at it from the wrong angle anyway. Besides, I love the philosophical quandary of how The Glorkian Warrior learned about the existence of pepperoni pizza from himself rather than some outside source.
You can’t help but love a book where the Don Quixote of space is accompanied by a Sancho Panza-like talking backpack. And yes, it’ll get its own fair share of objections from various quarters. Not every parent will get it, but it’s awfully hard to find anything to object to here. It hasn’t the scatological warning signs of a Captain Underpants or the “bad” language / “bad” attitude of a Junie B. Jones. Instead it’s just a good-natured tale of a dumbo making a date with destiny. It’s not going to blow you away with its insights into the nature of humanity itself, nor would it want to. It’s just here to make kids laugh. And honestly, we could do with a couple more books along those lines these days.
On shelves now.
Source: Galley sent from publisher for review.
Like This? Then Try:
- Meanwhile by Jason Shiga – Not to give anything away, but Shiga does some pretty similar things with time travel in his book with similarly goofy results. The tone of the two books is also quite similar.
- Fangbone! Third Grade Barbarian by Michael Rex – I’m sort of seeking out the silliest/goofiest of graphic novels, all operating under their own internal logic, to pair with Kochalka’s latest. Fangbone is a much smarter character, but that doesn’t prevent him from running headlong into danger ala our pizza delivery boy here.
- Amazing Greek Myths of Wonders and Blunders by Michael Townsend – Matches this book in terms of goof-tastic humor.
- Astronaut Academy by Dave Roman – Because if we’re talking peculiar space-based graphic novels with their perfect little ridiculous worlds, you can’t do any better than this.
Other Blog Reviews:
- Panel Patter
- Good Comics for Kids
- Comics Alternative Podcast
- Graphic Novel Resources
- Sharon the Librarian
- Green Bean Teen Queen
- Mom Read It
- The Book Monsters
- Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway
Other Reviews: Boing Boing
- Kochalka talks with Comic Book Resources about making the book in the first place.
- And another over at The Huffington Post.
- Read the first three chapters of the book here!
- Check out the alternate sketches for the cover of this book over here at Tor.com. Then you can continue to read the book online here.
Oh. And yes. It has its own app. Makes absolutely perfect sense. Sort of Centipede-ish (a statement that perfectly solidifies where in history my understanding of video games began and ended).
Fourteen young adult authors retell Grimm fairy tales with humor, horror, and imagination. The benefit of this short story collection is that one can jump around depending on the type of story the reader is in the mood for. Some retellings feel modern, others historical, and another has both; there is something for everyone in this book full of well-known YA author names. (Harlequin Teen, 2014)
--Gabrielle Zevin, interview with Powell's.com
Zevin also commented on the difference between being an author in real life and the way it's portrayed in popular media; the changes in publishing over the past decade; bookstores she has known and loved; the mysterious figure known as the book sales rep; and her new novel, The Storied Life of AJ Fikry.
From my hutch to yours. :)
- Current Mood: content
Teaching the creative writing course at Georgian Court University this semester has been great fun, but it's taken up a lot of time. As a result, I haven't booked anywhere near as many solo talks or group presentations as I would usually do. That said, I'm still trying to keep myself busy.
Here's what I've got booked between now and the end of July:
APRIL 24th (Thurs) 6pm-7:30pm: Meet the Authors
Burlington County Library, (Maple Shade) 200 Stiles Avenue, Maple Shade, New Jersey 08052
Featuring: Kristin Battestella; Jordanna East; Tina Gabrielle; Jon Gibbs; Brian Patrick Mckinley; and Ilene Schneider
APRIL 26th (Sat) MONMOUTH WRITERS 10am-noon
Featuring: Penelope Marzec - The Romantic Heroine: Big Girls Don't Cry
April 26th (Sat) 2pm NJAN Panel/Q&A So you want to be a writer
Middletown Public Library, 55 New Monmouth Road, Middletown, NJ 07748
Featuring: Jon Gibbs (moderator); Joanna Swank; Stacey Wilk, and Matt Ziselman
MAY 3rd (Sat) 10am – 3pm Meet the Authors
Spring Hills Community, Somerset, 473 DeMott Lane, Somerset, NJ 08873
Featuring: Danielle Ackley-McPhail; Jenny Baskwell; Jason Edwards; Jon Gibbs; Laura Kaighn; Nicole Caruso LaBrocca; Scott Mulraney; Nadege Nicoll, and Stacey Wilk
MAY 10th (Sat) MONMOUTH WRITERS 10am-noon
Jon Gibbs – Critique group
2014 MAY 17th (Sat) noon - 2pm: Meet the Authors
Califon Book Shop,
72 Main Street, Califon, NJ 07830
Featuring: Jo Coudert; Jon Gibbs; Dar Hosta, and Kim Kavin
2014 MAY 24th (Sat) MONMOUTH WRITERS 10am-noon – noon
Merry Brennan – Sure Fire Tips to Improve your Writing
JUNE 14th (Sat) MONMOUTH WRITERS 10am-noon
Jon Gibbs – Critique group
JUNE 28th (Sat) MONMOUTH WRITERS 10am-noon
Jon Gibbs – Critique workshop
2014 JUNE 28-29 (Sat-Sun) NJ SCBWI Conference
The Crowne Plaza/Holiday Inn Express Conference Center, Plainsboro, NJ
2014 JULY 12-13 (Sat-Sun) WEEKEND WRITER'S WORKSHOP
Georgian Court University, 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, NJ 08701 Tel: (732) 987 2700
Featuring Jon Gibbs, author, Jennifer R. Hubbard, and Literary agent, Marie Lamba
JULY 26th (Sat) MONMOUTH WRITERS 10am-noon
Guest speaker: TBA
How about you?
What have you got lined up in the coming weeks and months?
The author interviewed his mother and thirteen other survivors of the Jewish persecution and deportation in The Netherlands and the Holocaust during World War II to find out how they hid from the police and Nazi raids in order to tell their tales today. Many of these stories are "the same" but with "different details," and each one introduces the reader to amazingly brave children and the adults who risked their lives to save their friends and family. It is heartwarming to know that some who went to great lengths to save the Jews had success even after knowing that Anne Frank did not survive. (Arthur Levine, 2014)
Tornadoes and other types of major storms are covered in this non-fiction volume full of photographs, diagrams, and science experiments to do at home. This easy-to-read book gives upper-elementary through high school students easy ways to get involved with an early interest in a weather-related career, and information on how to be a safe weather explorer. While this reader did notice a missing term (the name of a treaty), overall it is a quality book. (Twenty-First Century Books, 2014)
***And there's a great deal going on over at Amazon for my ebook EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA for $1.99! For those of you who are asking for fantasies with PoC, well my book has one! What a deal! http://www.amazon.com/Earrings-Ixtu
1. Saw two movies with similar themes of struggle with faith.
God Is Not Dead
Intriguing argument for and against God in the classroom. That was the strength of this movie. Some of the other parts bordered predictability.
2. I thought this one though handled the subject better and was nothing like I thought. I went in as a skeptic and came out moved.
Heaven Is For Real
3. Really loving the voice in this memoir:
4. Can't wait to read this one:
5. Went to Mother-in-law's assistant living community for an Easter party. And yes, Easter bunny came!
12 year old got to help his grandma and other elderly lady to dye Easter Eggs:
Hope to go to Frye's and pick up a new laptop. Angelina, my current cherry red laptop, is five years old and dying.
Plus, want to treat self to a grande Starbucks drink!
**Photo courtesy from Starbucks.com
- Current Mood: relaxed