Thursday, June 18, 2009

Prince of Underwhere - fun summer reading for reluctant readers

Kids love comics. They're full of laughs, and they're easy to dip in and out of. The Calvin and Hobbes books in our library get tattered to shreds, they are so well-loved. I love to use kids' love of comics to pull them into a book. Bruce Hale's new book, The Prince of Underwhere, does exactly this. It's half-comic book, half-chapter book, much like Captain Underpants books.
Prince of Underwhere (Underwhere Series)
by Bruce Hale
illustrated by Shane Hillman.
NY: HarperCollins, c2008.
ages 7 - 10
Zeke, his twin sister Stephanie, and his best friend Hector are walking home one day when they start noticing some weird stuff going on. Their cat drops a mangled lizard at their feet, and seems to be almost talking to them, and a little while later it brings a seriously deformed bird home in its mouth. The cat is definitely trying to tell it something. When they chase the cat into the construction project down the street, they tumble down a dark opening and fall down a big, black hole.

Welcome to Underwhere, land of midgets, dinosaurs and zombies. In this land, the three friends meet the local residents, who declare Zeke to be the prince whose coming was foretold in the Book of Booty. They honor him with a twenty-one bun salute (bowing the wrong way), and tell him that he must save them from the cruel Underlord.This book will draw kids in and make them laugh. I liked the conflicts and twists that developed. I'd say it's a good choice for 3rd graders - the vocabulary is not for kids new to chapter books. It would make a good choice for kids who liked Captain Underpants and are looking for other comic books.

Find it at Amazon, or your local public library.

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