Monday, June 2, 2014

Poop Fountain! The Qwikpick Papers #1 by Tom Angleberger

Poop Fountain! The Qwikpick Papers #1 by Tom Angleberger. 134 p. Amulet Books/ Abrams, May 20, 2014. 9781419704253. (Finished copy courtesy of publisher for review)

Leave it to Tom Angleberger to riff on sewage treatment in all its potty humor glory and allude to a literary classic at the same time. The story is set in the year 2000 according to a note from Tom Angleberger. Lyle Hertzog is the narrator/ compiler as this story is told in typed and handwritten pages, doodles and photographs. Kyle's a bit of a loner and a bit sensitive about the fact that he lives in a trailer park. He makes the best of the fact that he received a typewriter for Christmas instead of the computer he was hoping for. About a year earlier, he found two unlikely friends in Marilla Anderson and Dave Raskin. The three found the Qwikpick Adventure Society, so named since the three often spend time chilling in the break room at the Qwikpick, where Kyle's parents both work.

Their first adventure arose when the three realize that they don't have much to do on Christmas Day since both of Kyle's parents work and neither Marilla nor Dave celebrate it. Marilla is a Jehovah's Witness and Dave is Jewish. They want to do something momentous but can't figure out what until a little item in the local paper about improvements at the local sewage treatment plant are underway. They learn about the the sludge fountain, which is about to get an upgrade and decide then and there that they must see the POOP fountain.

Not many authors are as slyly wry observers of the middle school jungle as Mr. Angleberger. It's also nice to see that he incorporated a diverse cast of characters both racially and economically. There's humor here low-brow and high. Give to your reluctant readers or fans of potty humor. Fans of the author's Origami Yoda series will be all over this new series. Well, I assume this is a new series. My one or two bits of criticism: it is a bit slow and the adventure part is a bit tame.         

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