Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reality Leak

A review that originally ran in the Edge of the Forest:

Reality Leak Jodi Sensel with illustrations by Christian Slade (Henry Holt, April 2007)

When Acme, Inc. rolls into South Wiggot, Bryan’s not entirely sure what to think. Something about the company head, Mr. Keen doesn’t seem quite right. Before long, Bryan and his best friend Spot (a girl who thinks she’s a dog) are finding messages popping up in the toaster instead of toast, tea bags that turn into mice, and a message in a bottle… in the toilet.

When Bryan gets a job at Acme planting popped popcorn that grows into glowering dandelions, they know something very, very strange is going on. Of course, none of the adults in town believe them. Can Bryan and Spot figure out what Mr. Keen’s up to and can they stop it before it turns ugly?

Mr. Keen comes off as a slightly sinister Willy Wonka in this wonderfully bizarre tale about the unexpected, the importance of dental hygiene, and the power of Imagination. Sensel’s imagination keeps the story moving in completely different directions with every page turn, making the book hard to put down as the reader wonders what will happen next.

Slade’s drawings well-capture some of the books odder oddities and add to Mr. Keen’s creepiness.

The ending leaves open the possibility of a sequel. While this book is a tough act to follow, we hope there is another in the works.

Modern update: No sequel. :(

Book Provided by... The Edge of the Forest, for review in their publication (sadly, now defunt. sniff sniff sniff.)

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