Take a good portion of Lemony Snicket and add some Captain Underpants sensibility and plenty of Eaton's own flavorsOne opinion about The Facttracker:
Take a good portion of Lemony Snicket and add some Captain Underpants sensibility and plenty of Eaton's own flavors to get this mix of intellectual absurdity, all wielded to share an actual story with a definite point to make. This book is a lot of fun and I highly recommend it to 4th-6th grade readers and anyone else attracted to what follows.
A few facts about The Facttracker:
The table of contents takes 6 pages, as there are 50 chapters (plus chapters 2 1/2 and 2 3/4), many with rather long, convoluted titles like: The Answer to a Question That Wasn't Even Asked. And the Question Is This: What Were the Townspeople Up To?
The book opens with: A fictitious friend of mine once told me, "Everyone loves a good explosion." Sadly, he told this to me just moments before he himself exploded, but it was good advice nonetheless.
The protagonist is called the "just small enough boy": [He] was so small that he was almost too small. But not quite. He was just small enough.
Much of the book takes place in the Liebrary.
And one quote from The Facttracker:
The true test of a society isn't how many lies it has; it's how many it believes....more
So much funny, mostly in the form of the narrator's voice and Stick Dog's patient, diplomatic interactions with his four bumbling friends (he has . .So much funny, mostly in the form of the narrator's voice and Stick Dog's patient, diplomatic interactions with his four bumbling friends (he has . . . I guess you wouldn't say "people skills" but "dog skills"), to whom he is unfailingly loyal despite the ways they continually make it difficult for him to realize his single-minded goal of obtaining food. While Stick Dog has laser focus, a long attention span, a strong grasp of logic, and insight into the world of humans, his companions are entirely lacking in any and all of those qualities. So their plans for stealing yummy grub from Peter's frankfurter cart involve things like buying a helicopter at the helicopter store that they assume will be at the local mall on sale for a dollar or two, except they keep getting distracted by things like inchworms and accidentally abducted in laundry baskets. Their adventures and interactions entertained me on every page.
Stick Dog is a master of tact. For example, upon hearing Mutt's outrageously inane plan:
Stick Dog closed his eyes. "Umm."
"Yeah?" said Mutt. He was very excited. It's great, isn't it?"
"It is great," said Stick Dog, trying to let him down easy. "It's great in a sort of non-great way. Sort of. Umm, yeah."
. . .
This seemed to suddenly make sense to Mutt. "Not going to work?"
"Oh, I'm not saying that at all," said Stick Dog. "But because there is just a sliver of doubt about its feasibility, maybe we should listen to some other ideas too."
And, later, with Poo-Poo and his plan.
Poo-Poo looked a little sad--and a little disappointed--when Stick Dog pointed out this flaw in his plan. Stick Dog saw this and added, "You know, Poo-Poo, that's a really sophisticated plan you came up with. [That idea] has probably never been considered before. You are, no doubt, the only creature on the planet who could come up with it."
Young readers will, undoubtedly, not be nearly as gentle laughing at the silliness of the other dogs--though they might pick up a few hints from Stick Dog's example--and will get a kick out of out-thinking them and their schemes.
Though it is entirely possible they might get a few ideas that parents and other adults aren't so thrilled about:
The game the five dogs were playing is called BARK! And the game goes like this: Whenever something moves anywhere--a leaf in the wind, a bird flying by, a triceratops charging out of the forest--the first one to bark gets five points. The second one to bark gets four points, the third barker gets three points, and so on. Whoever has the most points at the end of the game is the winner.
Whenever you see two or more dogs barking somewhere, odds are pretty good that they are playing this game.
You should try it too. Get a friend or a sister or a brother or a grandpa and play. Hold real still and then as soon as something moves, bark real loud a couple of times. Keep score and everything. A couple of things to remember when you play this game: First, don't play it at school unless you want detention. Second, when you play this game, people are going to think you're crazy.
Whichever approach readers take, rational or interactive, they'll have a good time....more
Simple. Elegant. Genuine. Wonderful. I don't think it's for everyone, but I loved it. After finishing it I just sat and savored what I was feeling forSimple. Elegant. Genuine. Wonderful. I don't think it's for everyone, but I loved it. After finishing it I just sat and savored what I was feeling for a while (which is rare for me, since I'm always doing something)....more