I only got Adam Rex’s latest book after writing up several laugh-out-loud kids’ books, but it definitely belongs on that list. Rex, known for his frequent and very silly collaborations with Mac Barnett (cf. Chloe and the Lion), has also written several books, both picture books and novels; The True Meaning of Smekday, which contains one of the best parodies of Disney World ever, is expected to hit the big screen late next year.
Unlucky Charms (just released last week) is the second book in the Cold Cereal Saga, Rex’s series about magic and breakfast cereal. If you haven’t read Cold Cereal yet, I’ll make this easy for you: get it now, read it yourself, give it to your kids, loan it out to friends. You’ll never look at breakfast cereal mascots the same again.
Note: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read Cold Cereal!
By the end of the first book, Scott and gang had escaped from the clutches of the Freemen and blown up the Goodco cereal factory in New Jersey. But they knew it wasn’t over yet: the Queen of England was still missing, replaced by goblins in disguise, and there were other factories in the world. The Fay were planning an invasion of our world, and only this band of unlikely heroes would be able to stop them.
In the second book, we learn a lot more about Merle Lynn, who turns out to be a guy from the future who jumped into Arthurian times and was mistaken for a wizard simply because he always knew how the story was going to turn out. Merle retells a lot of the old legends from his perspective, revealing the truth behind things. In the meantime, we also have a new character, Prince Fi the pixie, who fills in some missing pieces from the first book and also provides some insight in the current conflicts.
This new story takes the gang to England, where they’re hoping to expose the fake queen and rescue the real one … but of course things aren’t quite as easy as that, even when your team includes a leprechaun, a real knight, an invisible rabbit man, and fire-breathing finch. There are more mysterious clues, visits to the world of the Fay, and clever kids doing outrageous things.
I don’t want to give away too much more than that. Unlucky Charms does provide some more answers to mysteries introduced in the first book, but it also raises new questions of its own, to be continued in the third book. I love the way Rex mashes up King Arthur and classic fairy tales with his own brand of weird humor. Whether you’ve got middle grade kids or not, Unlucky Charms should be a part ofyour balanced reading diet.
Disclosure: The publisher provided an advance reading copy for review — but then I went and bought my own final copy because I wanted to see all the finished artwork.