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*blah blah blah blah you already know what’s gonna happen* Spoiler Alert Seal *blah blah*.

There are two very prestigious book awards in America, let alone the globe. One of them is the Newbery Medal, successfully proposed as the first-ever book award in history. The Newbery is only given to books with “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children”. And this was probably the first award I ever heard of where the losers get awards too–they become Newbery Honor books. First awarded to Hendrik Willem van Loon’s The Story of Mankind (1921), the Newbery has clearly been known as an author’s biggest bragging right of their career. But take it too far and you’ll end up playing yourself a mind game. And the 1999 Newbery winner, to be specific, was a book that I believe won as an underdog–Louis Sachar’s Holes. And for any of you who have read the book, you might have believed that the story of Camp Green Lake ended right then and there. Well, you are wrong.

Small steps, ’cause I don’t know where I’m goin’. Small steps, I just take it day to day. Small steps, somehow get myself together, then maybe I’ll discover who I am along the way…

Considered the sequel/follow-up to Holes (remember America, Stanley Yelnats’ Survival Guide was not a main entry–I’m not sure if you can even count it), Small Steps was released in January 2006 and continues the story of the [not-so] happy campers from Camp Green Lake. But this time, the story doesn’t revolve around Stanley–it revolves around two of his comrades. More specifically, Armpit and X-Ray. If you want to know how they got the names, here’s the story: Armpit’s actual name is Theodore, but something horrible happened within the first week at Green Lake. He had suffered a scorpion sting with pain that traveled up his arm and settled in his pit. He made the fatal mistake of complaining about his pit pain, and although the pain eventually disappeared the name stuck. And as for X-Ray–it’s merely his name, Rex, in pig Latin. Now, Armpit was released from camp two years ago, and has finally gotten the time to relax in his home down south in Texas with his disabled 10-year old neighbor Ginny. Y’see, Ginny was born with cerebral palsy. It’s a condition from impaired muscle coordination or equally worrisome disabilities caused by pre-birth/at-birth brain damage. She was actually born with mild brain hemorrhaging. Anyway, Armpit and Ginny are learning to take small steps, and seem to be on the right path until X-Ray steps into the picture. And not only that, but he’s got a fresh-and-off-the-griddle moneymaking scheme. The plan? Ticket scalping for an upcoming concert by pop star Kaira DeLeon. (Don’t Google her, she’s not real. :-?) Also known as selling counterfeit or bootlegged tickets, which is illegal. So now Armpit’s life has just gone out of control, but “only one thing is certain: he’ll never be the same again.” Will Armpit get a brush with his goals, a brush with fame via Kaira, or get a brush with a lot of police brutality–and possibly even death?

Now, Small Steps really surprised me. It was a lot raunchier and mature than your average sequel, definitely invading edgier territories. And I really couldn’t keep track of everything that was happening, forgetting who people are, even blanking out on whole scenarios. But the thing that convinced me that I did myself a good deed was the heart that the book had. It had lots of positive messages and modeling, and to me it had those debonair touches that made for a truly magical read. But I do have to warn you that this book literally is not for the faint of heart; I’m not just saying that because I just reviewed an equally wild book two weeks ago. But in the end, Small Steps wins me over with its hilarity, heart, and horrors, but could adjust a few corks and screws if I ever see another Holes sequel.

 4 1/4 out of 5 – Educational value –  The book is mainly prosperous on its entertainment factor, but Holes fans will definitely appeal to this sequel and get them thinking about the book’s bigger proposals. And at the end of the book, the storyline is stretched in the Readers Circle add-ons. Questions concerning the book’s plot element, even an interview with Sachar himself.

 3 out of 5 – Positive messages – Armpit may not be a choice perfectionist, but ultimately he has the heart to figure things out in time to act on it. The core plot is also very touching with its idea of “small steps” that you can take every day and eventually meet your goal with. X-Ray may technically serve as the antagonist of the book, but he is helpful for his friend as well.

4 out of 5 – Positive role models – Armpit does go with X-Ray’s plan to scalp tickets and then lie to the cops, but he spends most of the following actions allowing himself to rehabilitate, allowing readers to easily root for him. In the end X-Ray does truly regret his plan. Armpit helping Ginny, even taking her leukemia-infected pet to class (as part of an election campaign for some sort of “pet president”) for her, is probably one of the most affectionate and compassionate parts of the book. Armpit shares something short of a relationship with Kaira, but ultimately decides to drop the idea of any further affection due to his connection with his real life.

3 out of 5 – Ease of read – Small Steps is a great Holes sequel, but its sex appeal and moderate violence may be too much for its young diehards to handle. But its real icky, sticky, ooey, gooey center is its big heart and all the positive messages and models that make it up. So I guess you could say people at the faint of heart will have to take “small steps” to gain the courage to read the book. 

4 out of 5 – Violence – And a surprising amount at that. One of the most worrisome moments of the book is when Armpit is apprehended by some officers at the Kaira DeLeon concert, playing with the nerves of his arms and pressing his face against the floor. And while all this is happening, Ginny is actually having a seizure. (She later notes this as her body going into “red alert”, based off Kaira’s biggest hit, “Red Alert!”) When Kaira learns about this during a concert break, she refers to X-Ray as “some low-life ticket scalper”. When anyone actually ridicules Ginny for her condition, she always tells them that she had brain hemorrhaging at birth. Oh yeah, I didn’t tell you that Ginny’s the neighborhood laughingstock yet, did I? X-Ray reveals to Armpit that he had made the scalped counterfeit tickets himself. Armpit is interrogated questioned by Debbie Newberg of the Austin Police Department, forcing him to divert suspicion by making up a fake “part-Iranian” suspect known as Habib. When a student puts up his pig as part of his election campaign, he states that it would bring world peace or else at least everyone would get a ham sandwich, foreshadowing that the pig would kill himself for his people. Armpit also gets in a scuffle with a pair of ticket sellers, only letting him loose if he coughed up a love letter Kaira had written him. This leads to Armpit talking with Kaira in “the Golden Gate city” about having to sell her love letter, so he ends up coffee-splashed when he asks Kaira to write another version for sale. This states that Kaira believes Armpit does not humanly care about her and only likes her for her money. Jerome Paisley (aka “El Genius”, or “Doofus” by Kaira) plans to murder her own stepdaughter/managee and frame Armpit for the kill. This leads to a climactic brawl which results in Armpit receiving a broken arm, Kaira’s bodyguard Fred receiving a tummy stab, and “Genius” behind bars. Kaira then returns to her singing career, albeit she sings very weakly now after taking a hit from Doofus.

 3 out of 5 – Inappropriate Content – Walking towards what she believes is the bathroom, she gets caught by Doofus with her top unbuttoned and open. Armpit and Kaira share a real mouth-to-mouth kiss. X-Ray hoots at a girl wearing a bikini top. At Kaira’s concert, she informs her audience about her virginity. Needless to say, the crowd goes wild. Ginny calls Armpit “pretty pretty”, which is humorous since Ginny is technically calling Pit a girl, since “girls are pretty and boys are handsome”.

2 out of 5 – Language – The moderately salty epithets and expletives of “hell”, “damn”, and “shut up”. When X-Ray hoots at the girl, she responds wordlessly by promptly flipping him off. The “bird” is also mentioned when Kaira tries to guess Armpit’s nickname, and she guesses Finger and believes that he is the middle finger. During a call Kaira jokingly calls Armpit “delusional” over what he thought the lyrics to “Damsel in Distress” went like: “Save me, Armpit! A damsel in distress.”

 2 out of 5 – Product Placement – Kaira DeLeon, despite being fictitious, does get a lot of notable mentioning in the book. Some of her songs include “Red Alert!”, “Damsel in Distress”, “Imperfection”, “Small Steps”, and one unofficial song she frequently sings called “Billy Boy” (named after one of her fans). She also works on a song and sings lyrics that call Britney Spears “old and gray”. Small Steps also branches out from the hit novel Holes.

3 out of 5 – Drinking, Drugs, and/or Smoking – X-Ray sells parsley like marijuana, Armpit’s parents ask for urine samples believing their son is using drugs, an ex-ball player associated with Kaira takes steroids, band members drink and smoke frequently. Armpit is mainly attacked at the concert since the officers thought that Ginny was having a seizure due to being drugged up by Pit.


Entertainment: A (4 points)

Fun: A (4 points)

Smarts: B+ (3.5 points)

Style: A- (4 points)

Read-Again Ratio: A (4 points)

Humor: A+ (5 points)

FINAL SCORE: 24.5 out of 30 (:-?), 4 stars out of 5, 83% out of 100%

CONSENSUS: Small Steps may have lots of heart and the messages and models that make it up, and the humor and charm you’d expect from Sachar or a similar artist, but it’s the easy stuff like the “oomph” and maturity level that the book slips on.


Small Steps: Great, but not perfect. Anyway, that’s it for a day here at Sammwak! Come back or check your email to see if I’ve made a new post, but for now you know what to do. Subscribe, like, comment, follow me @ G+, Press This, reblog, do anything, and then git outta here.

Stay classy America,

~S~ 😎 (Or M-Say, if you prefer pig Latin. :D)

Video of the Week: Now if you’ve really been keeping track of things the past few weeks, you’ve been laughing your head off at entries from Swoozie’s Cheating in School series. Well, I’ve decided to put the next video on hold, but for now here’s something equally funny. It’s also based off a true story, and since January last year it’s got over 3.2 million hits with over 40k likes, it is Swoozie’s “Confessions of a Disney Employee“. Yup, Adande “Swoozie” Thorne himself worked at MGM. And now you can know what happened in that part of his life, from the Disney snitches all the way to a few rebelliously pulled strings that led to one of the greatest times of his life…

Let me emphasize it one more time–this post is for mature audiences only. As this book is set in Nazi-time Germany, and it frequently shows praise upon the by-then German “Führer”, Hitler–among other reasons–it might be too much for the youngest of our audiences to handle. So I’ll mark this post with a Restricted for the Young seal, but for all the young walk away thinking this: luckily I didn’t say anything like “rated PG-13” or “rated TV-14”. That would be just crazy…oh, and we should probably slap on a Spoiler Alert seal just to be safe.

Anyway, the book I’m about to talk about is probably the darkest title on the Jolly Good Bookie’s schedule. Yet it’s still been considered one of the best and most-talked-about novels of 2006. It’s an award-winning title in various fields: Kirkus Reviews Editor’s Choice of 2006, the 2006 Daniel Elliott Peace Award, Publishers Weekly’s Best Children Book of the Year, etc. And it’s been on the NY Times Children’s Bestsellers list for over 230 weeks. [I’ll crunch that down to a comprehensible number: that’s over 4 years.] Now what is this amazing book? One that’s got people on their feet? One that’s been considered the book of the year? Well, it all begins with the story of The Book Thief.

File:The Book Thief by Markus Zusak book cover.jpg

The two main stars of the story: Liesel (“the book thief”) and Death (“the narrator”).

Set in 20th-century Nazi Germany, The Book Thief chronicles the story of a young girl known as Liesel Meminger whom lives on Himmel Street with her foster parents, right outside of Munich. Now, “himmel” is German for “heaven”, and who in their right mind would mock a street named after heaven? 😕 Now, the book takes place in Nazi Germany during WWII, but mostly the Holocaust, so that’s primarily why the book’s so dark. Unsurprisingly death is at its highest rush hour during the events of the book–actually, Death itself narrates the story. And like the Family Guy personification of Death, he’s surprisingly skilled and even pretty funny. The story begins for the most part with the death of Liesel’s little brother Werner (“His blue eyes stared at the floor, seeing nothing” narrated Death 8-0), and the title of “the book thief” starts at Werner’s grievous funeral. At her brother’s graveside, Liesel comes across a book called The Gravedigger’s Handbook, assuredly and mistakenly left behind by a gravedigger’s apprentice. Despite her age compared to the book, she decides to keep it as a final memento of her brother. Despite the compassion in this act, it is still considered a thievery, and that’s how Liesel starts off as “the book thief”. Soon, she starts working her life of crime as a literal part-time job, but her foster father/accordionist Hans Hubermann takes these books as an opportunity to teach Liesel to read. Pretty soon, she’s sharing her misdemeanors with the rest of the kids on the street during bomb showers as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. 🙂 And plus she’s got plenty of friends:

  • Max Vandenburg – A Jewish fist fighter whom was taken in by Liesel’s family and sheltered in their own home. He is the son of a WWI fighter that actually faced Hans. He is described with “feather-like hair” and “swampy brown eyes”, and he was stowed away due to the relationship between Hans and Max’s father. Max and Liesel intertwined between their special affinities, and he even wrote two books for her along with a sketchbook that represented his life story. He was taken by the Gestapo to a concentration camp, but managed to reunite with Liesel after the war.
  • Rudy Steiner – The arguable deuteragonist–or at least the male protagonist–of the story. He was born eight months before Liesel and is her “bony-legged, sharp-teethed, blue-eyed, lemon-haired” neighbor. Despite being the German ideal, he is against Hitler and the Nazis. He suffers permanent hunger as he lives with six kids, and gained notoriety round the ‘hood because of “the Jesse Owens incident”, where Rudy painted himself with charcoal and ran 100 meters at the local sporting field. He was eventually caught by his father, anyway. He is “gifted” in academic and athletic fields, making him a Nazi Party target of attention, and end up plucking his father when he refuses to be recruited. As he eventually become’s Liesel’s closest friend, he frequently but always unsuccessfully asks her for a kiss. He usually uses this as a comeback when he does a compassionate deed for her, like fishing her most valuable book out of the water.
  • Tommy Müller – A friend of Liesel’s and Rudy’s. Due to being stranded in the snow, he has a hearing problem which has evoked various ear surgeries. One dramatic failure damaged his nerves in a way that caused him to have a permanent twitch. This defect has made him the butt of many classmate mockings, and is punished by the head of Hitler Youth for failure to follow instructions.
  • Pfiffikus – Not exactly what you’d call a friend, but let’s put him up anyway. He is known solely in the book as the potty-mouth of the neighborhood, and is also a good whistler. His name is actually German for “crafty thing”. Not a big surprise.

And Liesel’s doing the right thing, because some of those kids–well–might not be around after what happens near the end of the book to Himmel Street. 😆

Now, before I even say if this book is good or not, I’m going to tell you why Death, out of all people and perspectives, was chosen as narrator. According to the readers guide at the end of the book, the book’s author Markus Zusak stated that he had made a final decision “with great difficulty”. Apparently everyone knows that war and death are BFFs, and as death couldn’t be more present during war, that was a prime factor in Zusak’s decision. At first, Death was a bit mean-spirited–even for Death. He was “supercilious” (def: Behaving or looking as though one thinks one is superior to others) and enjoyed his work too much. He’d put up hair-raising comments at the sidelines, and showed plenty of delight in his soul pickups. That was when Markus knew The Book Thief wasn’t working. So he went to the 1st and 3rd persons, and half a year later he came back to an exhausted Death; apparently eternity really does wear you out. He was written out to be an anthrophobic (afraid of humans), and his job in the story would say that humans are actually worth it.

Now The Book Thief isn’t actually a bad book, it’s pretty darn good–if not probably the only historical fiction book I really enjoyed reading this year (beside Avi’s Don’t You Know There’s a War On?). It doesn’t have the cleanest rep in various fields, but it’s got intriguing direction and perspective, fast-paced action, appropriate tongue-in-cheek statements or other laughs, and a really big heart to say the least. It goes through a typical day in the life of someone under the Nazis, and portrays messages like sacrifice, friendship, and heroism. All the rest of it–as dark as your usual World War II novel, but especially appealing at that. Now, roll that chart.

 4 1/4 out of 5 – Educational value –  The book follows the life of several ordinary kids that have had the Nazis brought down on their heads, and how arduous it was to live life without the risk of getting captured or getting roped into an equally dangerous scenario.   These “lessons” include how it was like to be part of Hitler Youth to several book-burning episodes. There are also passages from the “Duden Dictionary” scattered throughout the book, giving off the meanings and translations of German words like Lemony Snicket usually defines the “big words” he uses. The perspective of the book translates German statements into English, so it also teaches you a bit of German, like “Verstehst?” stands for “Understand?”, and “Alles gut?” stands for “All good?”

 4 out of 5 – Positive messages – Senses of the trials and tribulations people went through often back in the old times, through the powerful and well-played images of the characters. Its ensemble consists lots of characters that show gallant heroism in risking their lives to defend what is right, but also have you ever heard this phrase: “Stand up for what is right, even if you’re standing alone.” This says that you shouldn’t stop at anything to protect the truth.

4 3/4 out of 5 – Positive role models – Liesel is a compassionate, willing, and thoughtful girl that can leave readers thunderstruck and wonderstruck with her perspective on the events in the book, as she constantly switches from reader to writer. Essences of sacrificing, heroism, courage, friendships, sorrow, empathy, and sympathy are portrayed through the book roster. They’ll be moved by the events in the story just by the quality of the narration.

3 1/2 out of 5 – Ease of view – Book Thief isn’t the most comprehensible book, but that doesn’t take off any points in its final score. (Well, it might under Smarts, but…) Some author transitions between Death and Liesel might fool a few readers, but for the most part it has fast-paced perspectives, thoughtful story-lining, and a sweet-as-honey aftertaste.

5 out of 5 – Violence – And lots of it, as the book does take place in Nazi Germany and is very critical to the book’s impact. The large focus on the Führer of the story–Hitler–may leave a few people religiously on end. Hitler’s symbol does appear in various drawings, and there’s definitely a lot of “heil Hitler”-ing. A majority of the violence comes from the war, especially late in the book when Himmel Street gets bombed. Spoiler alert!–People like Rudy, Tommy, and Liesel’s foster parents die in the warlike scene; stomach lurching and/or tears are expected. Just to show she knows her right hook from her left, Liesel beats up a kid at school. Max also beats up his fighting buddy Walter Kugler with a jab to the nose, a right hook, and a punch to the ribs. As Kugler lay on the ground, tears flowed from his eyes but he wasn’t crying; “the tears had been bashed out of him”. Before I read the scene, I also read about lips discolored by blood that would eventually dry across the teeth. When Rudy fails to remember Hitler’s birthday, he gets an awkwardly horrific knife haircut. Before this occurs, with the knife and all you may have expect that Rudy was going to be killed. Liesel also tears up the pages of a book from the library of Ilsa Hermann, the wife of the mayor of Molching. (So I guess there’s “molch” ado about nothing there. :D) In one scenario, Rudy tackles Liesel to restrict her from running into a line of Jews to find Max from being led away. Another character named Frau Holtzapfel (known at first for spitting on the Hubermanns’ door every time she passed due to an old fight) has a son that hangs himself from a local laundry’s rafters. A bomber plane is downed at a river’s banks, and Rudy has the heart to console its pilot with a teddy bear as he thanks him with a dying breath. Hans also suffers a broken leg from a truck accident. Max develops an illness around winter 1942 and falls into a deep sleep that lasts for days that turn into weeks. A group of rowdy kids throw Liesel’s stolen book into a river, but Rudy is able to fetch it (remember that kiss he always wanted). One of the drawings shows two people standing at the peak of a mountain of dead bodies–this should remind you of Breaking Dawn. If it doesn’t, then good; you’re clean. 🙄

 4 out of 5 – Inappropriate Content – There is one chapter called “The Thought of Rudy Naked” which literally contains 100% nudity. Three boys, one of them being Rudy, are forced to take off their clothes in front of a female doctor and perform their “first nude ‘heil Hitler’s”. As one boy undresses, Death states that “his self-respect was around his ankles”. “The thought of Rudy naked” then burns into Liesel’s mind, described as having “great dread”. The chapter uses uneasy words like “genitals” and “penises”. Rudy also keeps nagging at Liesel for a kiss throughout the book, and he never received that kiss for his entire life;–spoiler alert!–Liesel finally gives in and fulfills his wish after he dies in the street bombing.

4 3/4 out of 5 – Language – Lots of expletives in both German and English. “S–t”, “a–“, “a–hole”, “bastard”, “slut”, and more four-letter words roll of the tongue in various occasions. The German equivalents of all these words, and then some, are also used: “scheisse/scheiße” (also combos like “scheisskopf” » “s–t head”), “arschloch”, “saukerl”, and also the commonly used “saumensch”. Religious oaths like “Jesus, Mary and Joseph” and “crucified Christ” are also used, plus other anti-Semitic curses and racist African-American remarks. You may know from the “Jesse Owens incident” that Rudy charcoal-ed himself black and ran the hundred meters. Well, not only is this racist, but I consider it blackface. 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥

 2 3/4 out of 5 – Product Placement – Book Thief is deemed “the most talked-about book of 2006” and has won a bounty of awards, honors, and recognition, but the award that blazons several copies of the book is its “Michael J. Printz honor” title. The only consumerism you’ll ever come across is Hitler’s Mein Kampf (“My Struggle/Battle”) and its impact on the storyline.

3 3/4 out of 5 – Drinking, Drugs, and/or Smoking – Several characters (adults and kids 8-0) smoke and drink. One smoker blows his puff of smoke directly into Liesel’s face, and Holtzapfel once teaches forces Liesel to smoke. Luckily I hope she won’t be counting on it ever again.


Entertainment: A+ (5 points)

Fun: B+ (3.5 points)

Smarts: A+ (5 points)

Style: A- (4 points)

Read-Again Ratio: A (4 points)

Humor: A- (4 points)

FINAL SCORE: 25.5 out of 30 (heil Sammwak ;)), 85% out of 100%, 4 out of 5 stars

CONSENSUS: It may have a few smudges on its resumé, but The Book Thief is probably the most engrossing historical fiction book you’ll read, and it’s got the action, the drama, the heart, and the surprises to make sure it doesn’t go down when you first pick it up.

PRICE: (You should probably let your parents take the wheel on this one; I’m just saying.)

  • Amazon Hardcover: $10.98 (new: same price, used: $2.90) [45% savings]
  • Amazon Paperback: $8.41 (new: $5.50, used: $3.08) [35% savings]
  • Amazon Kindle: $9.99 w/ ready Whispersync (new-fangled tech these days allows you to swap between reading and listening) [23% savings]
  • Amazon Unabridged Audiobook, Audio CD: $32.13 (new: $26.71, used: $25.15) [37% savings]
  • Amazon Unabridged Audible Audio: $30.95, or free (w/ 30-day free trial membership @ Audible.com) with ready Whispersync [25% savings]
  • Barnes & Noble Reprinted Paperback: $10.98 (online price) [15% savings]
  • Barnes & Noble Marketplace: $2.91 [78% savings]
  • Barnes & Noble Nook Book: $9.99 (online price)

So, I guess that’s all for a week with Sammwak. Tune in next week (I really don’t what day I’ll release, so make sure you still have your subscription) for more entertaining romps and everlasting good times. This is Sam, signing out, and stay classy America.

~S~ 😎

Video of the Week: I’ve already taken up enough space, and besides–nothing I found was dark enough to put up for my audiences. Scenario apologies. 😦

Define the word wimp. As a noun, it is “a weak and cowardly or unadventurous person.” I guess that’s how some people may describe Greg Heffley, known to fans as “the Wimpy Kid” of Jeff Kinney’s national bestselling saga, Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It first got its start on Funbrain as an original story that was read over twenty million times when it released in 2004. From thence, Kinney decided to make the jump from online to on paper, and he has been a cult for kids since. Plus, he’s doing so good, he’s released 5 other titles, and even a few movies. Now, let’s repeat that: “even a few movies”. The most recent wimpy kid flick came out around St. Patty’s 2011 (the sequel, Rodrick Rules), and from the success of that movie comes the series’ threequel due this summer, and from the looks of it, this is gonna be the best entry yet.

Yep, this trailer just uploaded in April, and it’s already got…not even 20,000 hits. Don’t be fooled by the fact that the new movie’s called Dog Days. No, we didn’t all “skip a movie”. This will interpret features from both The Last Straw and Dog Days. This movie shares most of its storyline with the fourth book: school’s out and Greg’s starting to plan for the summer, when all his plans go awry, leaving him with one question: What on earth is he gonna do for three months? Up the antes in unintended gut-busting humor, that’s what. And yes, Sweetie the dog is going to be in it. This looks like a movie I’d undoubtedly want to see this summer, and hopefully my excitement won’t go up in steam once this movie hits the cinemas. If there were a few differences I spotted in this, it’d be 1) Greg’s voice changed!!!, and 2) Sweetie’s gonna be back. Cool story, bro. And for possibly the first time, Heather Hills, Holly’s older sister, is gonna be in the movie. She will be portrayed by Melissa Roxburgh, whom you probably don’t know. The movie’s filming was in Vancouver (much like the two previous films), from August to October 2011, and it will officially be PG according to Box Office Mojo, citing “some rude humor”. And hopefully it will sell well and continue the series’ multi-million-selling streak, with a combination of $116 million of lifetime gross revenue. Oh, did I forget to show you the teaser poster?

Make sure to mark your calendars for August 3, 2012, because on that very day, something wimpy is going down. Well, that’s all for this week, but make sure to subscribe, like, rate, comment, and reblog often! Same thing @ 2Sam2Mwak!

– Sam

p.s. Can you feel the love? Greg can in this year’s untitled & upcoming seventh Wimpy Kid title. As the tagline of the announcement poster is “Love is in the air”, we can assume that this ranges around Valentine’s Day. Despite this, the book’s due to come this Thanksgiving, so mark your calendars for that too.

p.p.s. Would You Rather o’ the Week: Would you rather be shot by an arrow from Cupid, or be shot by an arrow from an underwear-wearing Greg with fake wings plastered on his back, so it’s more like he’s trying to kill you than get you lovestruck?

p.p.s.s. Random Video o’ the Week: Some people are very intimate with the kinds of musical YouTube videos they watch, and they usually tire quickly of the usual. But luckily through remixing tech, they can shut their pieholes with the amount of enjoyment they’ll receive. But they can only admire the highest levels of remixes. And on this note, that level belongs to Fagottron, more famously known as Pogo. This video just came out this January, and it’s already past 3 million hits due to how good it is. This is so darn good, I’ll have to bury a YouTube treasure to dig up in the future for this! (Check out this guy’s channel for more sweet remixes, and please do like this post for a very worthy suggestion. C’mon, you know you want to, do it for ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGA!)

Hey guys it’s Sam, and you might remember the time when I complained about there being no Captain Underpants 9 yet back on my other site, 2Sam2Mwak. Well, Wikipedia hooked me up with the release dates I needed, and those are the release dates that I’ll be sharing with you! It’s like a game of phone tag, isn’t it?!?! Except, there are no phones…or tags, I guess. If you read my post (if you haven’t click on the colored lettering above) about it you’d know Dav Pilkey’s top excuse for the delays, but let’s just slice through the cheese and get what we need. And plus I’ll throw in some Pilkey videos to certify you aren’t just reading passage after passage, because that’s all boring and stuff!

This cover art seems strangely promising, but my mind's telling me it's fake.

If you’ve read Captain Underpants 8, you’d know how the book would end: a coming-soon ad for Captain Underpants 9, also known as the Terrifying Re-Turn of Tippy Tinkletrousers, confirming Professor Poopypants to be the first villain in Captain Underpants history to be a main villain for two books. That ad was back when the book published in 2006, and a confirmed 6 years later is when the book will release…this year. In the final days of August 2012, the ninth epic novel we’ve been itching for is finally coming out. August will also be the month of the scheduled release of the eighth and final promotion for F.A.R.T.S. before its official publishing in the fall, “Fartistic: The Art of F.A.R.T.S.” Pass the spray, please! Dav hasn’t cracked much open about it, but we’ll naturally learn more as the year progresses, won’t we? And to make things even better, by the very end of the first month of the next year (Jan 2013), a tenth waistband-warrior novel is scheduled to release! Captain Underpants, among being able to leap buildings wedgie-free and being faster than a speeding waistband, is known for being more powerful than boxer shorts. But will his next foe provide his met match in the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers? That’s for you to find out, and me to squeeze the juice out of, hopefully. But are these boxers boxer shorts, or actual boxers, like pugilists, the people you see in the ring knocking the wind out of one another?

At the end of the eighth book, there was also a “coming soon-ish” ad for other books, and one of them was Captain Underpants Cartoon-O-Rama #1: Heroes, Villains, and Super Creeps, a how-to-draw book starring your favorite friends of Jerome Horwitz Elementary, with the exaggerated promise of 78 billion cartoons to learn in 22 1/2 easy lessons. I’ll say this in the easiest and nicest way possible: yeah, right. The release date of this is TBA (that’s a fancy term for when we don’t know the date yet, alas “to be announced”), but it still sounds somewhat promising.

What happens when you give products twists of your own without butchering them? You get stuff like, I dunno, parodies. And Dav Pilkey himself once conceived one of those in a parody compilation that never made it to market because of his girlfriend believing it would be too offensive (Try saying that to the Topps Company’s face.), and it was at that time in the mid-90’s when Dav scrapped the idea and began working on the first Captain Underpants book instead. These unreleased parodies included Where the Mild Things AreThe Babysitters ClubbedSmellalunaFurious GeorgeThe Tragic Schoolbus, and SarahPlain and Portly. But now in the early 2010’s, Dav’s at it again with FrankenFart vs. the Bionic Barf Bunnies of Diarrhea Land, a “confirmed” book that we barely know about. Written by Dav’s “evil doppelganger” Evil Dav, the book, according to the cover art (all we saw of it) in its ad, the book will contain “high-brow”, “sophisticated humor”, and “relevant social commentary.” Gosh, I never knew Evil Dav was such a proficient speller. FrankenFart also made a cameo as an “easy-to-read book” in Captain Underpants 8 itself, being read by the exceptionally dumb Melvin Sneedly—wait, here’s the kicker—in the parallel universe. We  know an exceptionally little amount about this book, but the details of the book inside and out are TBD (that’s a fancy term for to be determined), but that seems like an exceptionally good book compared to the exceptional amount of times I use the word “exceptionally.”

If you know your proper kung-fu-caveman graphic novel adventures, you’re likely to have heard of Ook Schadowski and Gluk Jones. If you read their first adventure, Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future (which I personally own via Christmas gift), you’d learn about how they stopped the effect of the combination of two generations of the Goppernopper family from destroying the natures of Ook and Gluk’s surroundings, and now via “coming soon-ish ad” the announcement of Ook and Gluk’s next adventure, The Adventures of Ook and Gluk Jr.: Kung-Fu Cavekids in Outer Space, commenced and is currently, like Captain Underpants Cartoon-O-Rama, with a release date that is TBA, as well as the main crafting of it, let alone its premise.


So there you have it—all the release dates of the Pilkey books we’ve been waiting for. Comment, rate, and give that ole subscribe button a good wedgie! And check back next Monday, Tuesday, or any other day of next week for a new dose of awesomeness. For now, this is Sammwak, giving a reason of why I want a Facebook. Here’s my plan: I’ll name myself “Nobody”, and when I like someone’s post, it’ll say Nobody Likes This! Wasn’t that a kneeslapper?

– Sam

p.s. More Pilkey fever? Well, my friend, infect away with these cool FUN FACTS!!!

  • Did you know that Dav Pilkey’s picture book The Paperboy won the 1997 Caldecott Honor award? See, Pilkey’s an award-winning author. Other awards he’s earned is The National Written and Illustrated By… Awards Contest for Students in ’86, winning the 14-19 age group with his first-ever book, World War Won. His book Dog Breath (1994) also won the 1998 California Young Reader Medal.
  • Dav was caught in a magnitude 6.8 earthquake in the Pac. Northwest, rocking his house for 30 seconds while painting the illustrations for the first Super Diaper Baby. Various possessions of his broke, but luckily none of them were his paints. Now that’s what I call nothing more or less than a miracle.
  • The main villain of the fourth waistband warrior novel, Professor Pippy P. Poopypants, was designed after Albert Einstein, and few people know this, but Einstein’s middle name was actually Pippy.
  • Super Diaper Baby 2 was partially somewhat designed after Dav’s old childhood comic saga, Water Man. If you’ve read the book (*spoiler alert*), you’d know how Rip van Tinkle slides into the bank and slides each bill under the door, and this was exactly how Water Man’s evil twin Mazumba used to sneak into and rob banks. You know how Rip van Tinkle can evaporate into a cloud and rain pee drops that find their ways into chimneys? This was how Water Man’s evaporation worked, but all the drops would go into one chimney and reform themselves into Water Man again.
  • The Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot series by Dav Pilkey (as well as illustrator Martin Ontiveros) was originally Ricky Ricotta’s Giant Robot, but this was varied when young fans realized that the Robot isn’t “Giant”; he’s just 12 times taller than a mouse, which would make him only about 2 1/2 feet tall, but if you still have a Giant Robot copy, hang on to it, since no more copies of that kind are published and it might be valuable one day!

Hey guys it’s Sam, back with yet another jolly good visit from the bookie of all bookies! (I should really alter next Monday.) But on 2Sam2Mwak (a site apparently no one feels like visiting), I released a JGB review about the first Bone book, Out from Boneville. (You can see that specific review here!) I won’t tell you how it broke down, but I can tell you how the next adventure starring our lovable Bone threesome broke down. It’s sweet with just as much sour, it’s The Great Cow Race.

The two covers of "The Great Cow Race". The left one is the 2005 in-color edition that I read. The right one is the 1996 original edition.

Released in 2005 (or 1996, if you want the actually old version) alongside the preceding Out from Boneville, this book revolves around the Bone cousins plan to return to Boneville after checking out the Barrelhaven village with Thorn and Gran’ma Ben. But Phoney risks everything on one final get-rich-quick scheme for the town’s annual Great Cow Race, and Smiley’s involved dressing up as the “ferocious and terrifying” Mystery Cow. As usual, Phoney’s plans backfire, making Boneville farther away than ever. Meanwhile, ominous signs indicate that warfare is brewing, and F. Bone finds himself helping his pals defend their valley from a formidable villain. The Thorn-Bone (or, if you enjoy “pairings”, Thone or Born) subplot features Thorn getting interested with a shirtless honey-seller named Tom, but F. Bone gets in an argument with him, ending in the fact that he has enormous muscle in his skinny arms.

What I meant to say about “sweet and sour” was that this book was definitely lighter on violence and other content than its last installment (Thorn and Bone’s relationship has finally been appropriately rekindled), but there are still appearances of the now-more-humorous breed of rat monsters, salty language (“shut up”s and “stupid”s, just like last time), and Smiley’s still smoking and handling a job at a bar like usual. Not much of a back-premise difference, is what I’m trying to say. Definitely more of a recommended book now.

 0 out of 5 – Educational value – This aspect is not featured.

 3 out of 5 – Positive messages – Phoney and Lucius (the old looking but buff meat link in the book) both say they have faith in Gran’ma Ben that she could win the Cow Race and to believe in herself, by far the most enticing and inspiring scene in the book.

2 out of 5 – Positive role models – Compared to the last adventure, Phoney may have actually lightened up. Gran’ma Ben still believes she has a chance of victory when almost everyone in the town refuses to bet on her for the Cow Race.

 5 out of 5 – Ease of read – The Great Cow Race definitely makes Bone a more recommended graphic-novel series (no wonder it’s a million-selling series!), considering the fact that it jumped out of the bushes with an amazing new story and technique that kindles the book (and a reader’s heart) even with the same old sub-premise. A great book that’s worth reading even if you’re younger than I recommended with Out from Boneville!

2 1/2 out of 5 – Violence – Ratlike monsters do return in this book, but in a more humorous matter. Lucius does slip down a roof, followed by 11 more panels of painful sound effects, but it is unknown if he survived. Phoney gets tied to a stake and bombarded with eggs, and they almost harden his mouth shut.

 1 1/2 out of 5 – Inappropriate Content – Thorn and Bone’s relationship has been rekindled into an appropriate manner, so there’s no more sexual content between the two of them. A honey-seller named Tom does run his stand without a shirt (exposing humanly exaggerated muscle).

1 out of 5 – Language – “Shut up” is said about once, followed by several uses of “stupid”. That’s right. No more “oh my God”. OMG.

1 out of 5 – Product Placement – The Great Cow Race is the second installment in the Bone series, which would grow to become one of the most famous graphic novel series. No mentioning of consumerism in the actual book.

2 out of 5 – Drinking, Drugs, and/or Smoking – Phoney and Smiley work at a bar, and, like usual, Smiley is seen in almost all panels he’s in with a cigarette in his teeth. Right in between sessions of mad Mystery Cow “rampaging” in his hut, Smiley even stops to smoke his cigarette in one panel.

Entertainment: A+ (5 points)

Fun: A+ (5 points)

Smarts: A (5 points)

Style: A (5 points)

Read-Again Ratio: A+ (5 points)

Humor: A+ (5 points)

Final score: 30 out of 30!! (OH MY GOODNESS! THAT’S OUR FIRST PERFECT SCORE!), 7 stars out of 5, 96% out of 100%

CONSENSUS: The Great Cow Race definitely rights its predecessor’s wrongs, and with a new sweet-n-sour story of adventure, humor, and light violence and inappropriateness, this book may serve as the best book of the pack!

PRICE: You’re not slipping out of this one. You know you want this book. You just don’t know it yet. At Amazon, the book charges for a regular $6.24 with 43% of the savings. 83 new copies go for $2.50, 172 used ones go for a penny, and 5 collectibles go for $5.89. Barnes & Noble charges it (with a surprising 4 1/2 star rating) for the same big regular price, with the same big regular savings. But the used-and-new marketplace edition goes for $1.99 with 81% of the savings! What a righteous deal!

RENT, BUY, OR SKIP?: Reread this post about five times, and problem-solve this one yourself.


First perfect score. Oh my goodness. 30 out of 30. That’s amazing. The rarest score. Anyway, while I’m busy being fazed by this book’s first perfect JGB score, you can go and subscribe, like, rate, and comment. That’s our usual routine, right? Anyway, go get this book. Seriously. Right now. Get off your chair and go get it. I’ll be waiting right here…

With all due respect,


p.s. Bet I can read number three before you!…

Hey guys it’s Sam. Remember how last year, I gave you all the deets on the 2010 Haverhill Book Fair? Well, now I’m gonna give you more deets on the 2011 Moorsbridge Book Fair! This seems more epic than usual, with horrifying celebrity books, overpriced children’s picture books, you name it! Even the brand-new upcoming sixth Wimpy Kid is involved! (as always. You see, it’s literally a book fair tradition to include the latest upcoming Wimpy Kid) And from the 14th to the 18th of this month, you can splurge your money into all kinds of goods! This year’s fair theme is an intergalactic style, stating that “Reading Is Out of This World!” Hey, at least it’s better than one book fair’s motto: “Reading Can Make You A Star!”

This fair still has all the other traditions: books labeled with RC (Reading Counts) or AR (Accelerated Reader) labels, specific places to find them, even the expensive prices! I’ll show you some interesting examples.

I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941 by Lauren Tarshis ($4.99)

First, the famed surprise military attack bombarded the Pearl Harbor just as 1941 was nearing an end. Then the Pearl Harbor movie bombed cinemas a solid sixty years later in May 2001. Now this? This follow-up to installments like I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic (actually mentioned last book fair post) and I Survived the Shark Attacks, this book is about 11-year old Danny Crane fighting for a route home in the action of bombs, smoke, and demolition when World War 2 officially attacks the United States? Will this young boy find a way home, or is he gonna go shaka-laka…boom? (Numbered #328914, with a LEX of 620L. Find it in the B1 Historical Fiction section.)

Will this book be on my list?: No way! I don’t like historical fiction books anyway, and the last time I read one [with my class], I vowed that I’d never read another historical fiction-related book ever again…

How I Survived Middle School by Donna Gephart ($5.99, other places $6.99)

Don’t be fooled by the cover and actually click on this “video”, because you won’t get anything close to it. This book is about yet another 11-year old whose name starts with D, but this boy isn’t fighting for his life through bombs and destruction. He’s fighting for a way to survive middle school with a dream of becoming a TV personality. With a little hand–or paw, I guess–from his pet hamster, David creates a series of videos called Talk Time which he uploads onto YouTube. Is this little boy ready to be a big star? Or will the chances shrink as small as his hamster? (Labeled under RC and AR, numbered #329813, with a LEX of 660L. Find it in the G1 Advanced Readers section.)

Will this book be on my list?: It’s an official yes, because it’s cheap, it seems funny, and I really like these real-life-reflecting kind of books of fame attempt. In other words, it seems legit.

Bad Kitty Meets the Baby by Nick Bruel ($4.99)

“This time Kitty’s met her match…”…or has she? In the latest and fifth installment in this clawed canine rival’s series, Kitty isn’t in for much of a treat when her owners come home with…you guessed it…a baby. Will Kitty use her naughty skill to prevail? Or has Kitty met her babbling, crawling match? (Numbered #329603, with a LEX of 720L. Find it in the Y2 Chapter Books section.)

Will this book be on my list?: Sadly, it won’t be, because it doesn’t seem like a very good book.

Thea Stilton and the Star Castaways by “Thea Stilton” ($7.99)

If you’ve already read my other Jolly Good Bookie posts, plus the ones on 2Sam2Mwak, you already know my passion for Thea and her books. So you wouldn’t believe my excitement when I saw this book in the flyer. The Sisters have battled through earth, wind, and fire (literally) but have they battled through space? Because this time, they’re having an adventure off their own planet to the Moon. But when they arrive at their lunar destination, they stumble upon spaceship wrecks, rebellious robotic beings, and more! Can these feisty five save the day, or is Apollo 18 not the only reason to stay off the Moon? (Labeled under AR, numbered #329904, with a LEX of 780L. Look for it on the Bestsellers Table.)

Will this book be on my list?: I’m on the fence about it, because I can just get it from the library after the book fair, but then again, it is Thea this book was “written by.” So I’m very skeptical about it.

Big Nate On a Roll by Lincoln Peirce ($7.99, exclusive paperback)

I’ve already expressed my anger towards Lincoln and his series in my Big Nate Strikes Again page flip, reviewing one of the worst books ever made. It’s sitting in my bookshelf right now, glaring at me. I want to glare back, but I have to tell you about their third and final shot at impressing me. Nate’s always sick of being in 2nd place compared to Mr. Perfect, also known as Artur. So when Artur joins Nate’s scout troop, poor Nate gets bumped down a spot like usual. From chess to relationships with Nate’s crush Jenny, Artur always wins. But can this Ben Franklin of the modern times (read Strikes Again to learn what I’m talking about. On second thought, you wouldn’t want to!) come back with a vengeance? And as always, funny drawings and comics emblazon every page. (Numbered as #329292. Look for it in the R1 Humor section.)

Will this book be on my list?: I’m thinking about it, because I do need to see if Lincoln has finally learned to impress me, but I’m afraid that it’ll be terrible and I just wasted 8 dollars. For now, I’m on the fence.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Special Edition 2012 by…well, lots of people. ($12.99, other places $16.99. Thank God.)

If you remember my last book fair juicy detail post, I got some covered footage of the Special Edition 2011 version of Believe It Or Not! Well, I’ve decided to continue my “traditions” by giving some detail on 2012’s special edition! Prepare to be amazed by the most absurd facts, acts, and oddities ever reported! As Ripley said, and as I’ll say again, there’s nothing—NOTHING—stranger than the truth! (Numbered as #329564. Look for it on the Reference Table.)

Will this book be on my list?: I’ll have to pass this experience, because after seeing the 2011 special edition, I seriously don’t need to be disgusted 2 years in a row. And besides, since when was I interested in Ripley’s?

Darth Paper Strikes Back: An Origami Yoda Book by Tom Angleberger ($5.99)

First, green and brown paper combined into a thorough series of folding to make Origami Yoda. Now, black and red paper have combined into a thorough series of folding to make Darth Paper. 53% of people actually believed that the “Yoda sequel” was actually going to be revolved around Darth anyways, so they got their wish. This book is about Harvey’s success in getting Dwight suspended. But as O. Yoda pleads to rescue him, Harvey and his accomplice “Darth Paper” plan evilly to make Dwight’s suspension permanent! Will their plans go through? (Numbered as #329944. Look for it in the B1 Mystery section.)

Will this book be on my list?: No. Why? I’ve never been interested in Star Wars, let alone Star Wars parodies, and after the negative advice one of my super best friends gave me, I’m afraid it won’t be worth the splurge of cash.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney ($8.49, exclusive paperback)

I already covered this book in August, but I guess I’ll cover it again: the Heffleys are finally getting a blanket of snow for the winter. But the sky spirits must think big, because they brought a blanket so big, the Surrey Street family gets snowed in! Can Greg survive being stuck inside with family? Or is he going to go stir crazy? (Numbered as #331658. On sale November 15, day 2 of the Book Fair. Look for it in the R1 Humor section.)

Will this book be on my list?: Heck yeah! Whenever a new Wimpy Kid makes for the fair in its debut, I’m always riding its cattails for it.

SpongeBob SquarePants: Attack of the Zombies! by an anonymous writer ($3.99)

Zombies have been very famous in horror media, starting off way back in 1968 when Night of the Living Dead staggered into cinemas as an independent black-and-white cult movie. Just the phrase of the Dead has been included in several movie titles, like Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, and even Diary of the Dead. But for the first time in porous undersea history, Nickelodeon’s spongy hero and his starfish friend are pitting themselves against “the dead!” Just like in one of the show’s episodes, Gary’s the one that starts the rave when he suddenly begins biting every Bikini Bottomite in town. The snail bite panic spreads, ending up in zombie-like behavior from everyone, and then Gary and his zombified brethren start an underwater manhunt. Can SpongeBob and Patrick escape the infection? Or will they really be left for dead? (Numbered as #328596, with an LEX of 410L. Look for it in the Y2 Easy Readers section.)

Will this book be on my list?: I love the little guy so deeply, but then again, I’m not 6.

Fly Guy vs. the Flyswatter by Tedd Arnold ($5.99 here, other places $6.99, hardcover)

Fly Guy used to be one of my children’s book hypes, and now that he’s gotten a second mentioning (last time was for his collaboration with Buzz Boy) he better be lucky. Warning: The puns you are about to hear are very insect-related, and unbeelievably bad. You’ve been warned.

It’s bad newzz when Fly Guy picks the wrong day to visit Buzzzzz’s school and participates in a field trip with him. But the destination they’re headed to is unbeelievably horrific: the flyswatter factory! Will he escape the Super Swatter and return with his 2 wings? Or is this fly doomed to be roadkill? (Numbered as #328943 with a LEX of 430L. Look for it in the Y2 Easy Readers section.)

Will this book be on my list?: Fly Guy’s a cute little pest, but his books are usually around 18 pages long, and besides, this installment in Fly’s adventures doesn’t seem as much of a buzz. I warned you about those insect puns! (*please insert rimshot*)


So that’s some pretty good biz to get hyped up for. Sneak a peek by Moorsbridge Elementary School on November 14-18 from 8 am to 4 pm each day in the Community/Spanish Room across from the gym to get your share of books out of this world! And also check by Sammwak and 2Sam2Mwak (7 hits? Dude, come on) for more epic junk and stuff. This is Sam, sssssssigning out. See, I warned you about those bad insect puns.

With all due respect,


p.s. Want some more entertaining peeks? Here are a couple more to get you going:

  • Everyone’s afraid of something. If you are, try reading The School of Fear #2: Class Is Not Dismissed by Gitty Daneshvari, the second novel in the frightful foursome’s series. Labeled under RC and AR, available at the B1 Adventure section for $5.99.
  • Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark too creepy for you? Try Attack of the Vampire Weenies and Other Warped and Creepy Tales by David Lubar, a continuing installment of his series of warped and creepy tales. Available at the B1 Fantasy section for $5.99 as an exclusive paperback. If you don’t want to stop there, try other installments like The Battle of the Red Hot Pepper Weenies and The Curse of the Campfire Weenies.
  • For some reason, book fairs always include books about rising new celebs, and this year, they’re packed with Willow Smith: Pop’s Newest Princess, and Big Time Rush: Big Time Audition. Both go for $3.99, and they’re both available at the Y2 Easy Readers section.
  • Whoever wants to spend Christmas with the baddest kitty of them all, raise your hand. ****** Well you got your wish, because A Bad Kitty Christmas is one of the included books. If you want to learn the true meaning of Christmas with the world’s most naughty kitty, just pay $15.99 under a hardcover, and scope for it at the Holiday Table.
  • If Big Nate copied off of Wimpy Kid, surely someone can copy off of Big Nate. What’s that? There is someone? Sweet! Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life is available for $15.99 (hardcover) at the S1 New Releases section.
  • Guys, cover your ears and open a new tab instantly. If you want to hear about some girly new books coming out, here they are: they include, but aren’t limited to, Monster High: The Ghoul Next Door ($8.99 at the GL Books & Stuff section), Pinkalicious: Pinkie Promise ($3.99 at the Easy Readers section), you know what I mean.

Hey guys. I’ve probably been making you undergo this formula every week on Sammwak: videos, videos, games, books breast cancer. Rinse and repeat. Well, now I’ve decided to rewind back to books, but I’m also rewinding back to a segment that I haven’t done in a long time on Sammwak. And that’s book reviewing. Considering the fact that I just turned out a couple books to and from Chicago just Wednesday, I’ve decided to bring them back right here on Sammwak. The one that I actually finished will be here today. This book was released February 1994, so that makes it approximately seventeen years old (older than my sister!). The next ride might be the last in the sixteenth installment in the popularly paranormal series, One Day at HorrorLand. (Fun fact: Do you know that Scholastic was 74 years old when they made this?)

SPOILER ALERT: For anyone who does not like their books spoiled, I suggest you roam elsewhere on the site.

RATED TV-PG: For people who don’t like severe horror and are easily nightmare-prone, I suggest you also roam elsewhere.

Front tagline: Enter if you dare….

Back tagline: The next ride might be their last…. (Which is a little old, but let’s go with them)

Description: The Morris family got lost trying to find Zoo Gardens Theme Park. But that’s okay. They found another amusement park instead. It’s called HorrorLand. In HorrorLand there are no crowds. No lines. And the admission is free. It seems like a pretty cool place. But that was before that heart-stopping ride on the deadly Doom Slide. And that terrifying experience in the House of Mirrors. Because there’s something weird about the rides in HorrorLand. Something a little too creepy. A little too real…


This book was deeply squandered, repetitively and predictably unfunny, and…it breaks my heart to say this…scary. Perhaps this is one of the most original Goosebumps books to actually scare me even for a moment. As depicted in the description, it depicts around the Morris family: Dad, Mom, narrator Lizzy, her little brother Luke, and his friend Clay. This whole adventure all happens because a foolish dad forgot to pack the map. Driving out in scenic nowhere, they stumble across HorrorLand, “where nightmares come to life.” Just as they exit their car, guess what happens? It explodes. I’m not even joking. It explodes. Twisted metal and burning cinders are everywhere, much to Dad’s horror. He tries calling 911, but HorrorLand strictly prohibits phoning. Sad and unlucky day.

To save all the energy and muscle it takes to type out the whole literal story, let me break it down to you:

Doom SlideWarning! You May Be The One To Slide To Your Doom! – How is it scary? Take the unlucky pick, and you might slide to your infinite doom. Pretty cheesy, huh? Lizzy, Luke, and Clay are the participants. Considerably, the slide basically has you sliding at the speed of light (maybe even faster) through fake fire, and then out you go. If that were a cartoon, you’d literally be flying over HorrorLand at this rate.

House of Mirrors Reflect Before You Enter. No One May Ever See You Again! – How is it scary? The walls cave in on you, crushing you into a perfect human square? Lizzy, Luke, and Clay are also the participants. There are a bunch of mirrors everywhere. That’s it. Also try not to hurt yourself.

Coffin CruiserA Relaxing Float To The Grave. – How is it scary? You apparently lie down in coffins as you float on a brown water river, then the lids suddenly shut on you. That’s it. Everyone is a participant here.

Bat Barn – How is it scary? How do you think it’s scary? In the dark, a bajillion bats. That’s how it’s scary. Lizzy, Luke, and Clay are also the participants.

That’s pretty much HorrorLand in a nutshell.


The Ending: After realizing they were the victims on the candid camera show HorrorLand Hidden Camera (more like Punk’d Monster Mix) that airs on the Monster Channel after 30 Monster Meals and viewed by 2 million beasts worldwide, the family goes through an obstacle course and sets a new record of all five surviving. They hitch a HorrorLand bus to drive home, but a monster was in the back the whole time…just to award them tickets for next year.

Memorable Cliffhanger Chapter Ending: Page 73, concluding chapter 15. The Morris parents have abandoned their children with a message: “Goodbye.”


This book really had hopes and dreams. But how it turned out, those got roughly shattered. The premise got old fast (going to die? I prefer not, you’re OK), and so did its humor. The only thing that could stick around for literally half the amount of chapters was the horror…and I guess that’s a good thing. It just couldn’t last long enough to squeeze out the entertaining juices.

FINAL SCORE: 6.5/10 (a fair book)

CONCLUSION: If you know your Goosebumps, then this book would be more like One Day To BoreLand. But if you’re a newbie veteran, you might be interested into gazing at a few chapters. One Day To HorrorLand just fails to be fresh and entertaining, and that’s what so violently destroys it.’

– Sam

p.s. I like new challenges every day, so I’ve decided that a Spanish version of Sammwak may be launched sometime! (And yes, it will still be called Sammwak, because who’s heard of that word?) Even if it’s out for just a momento, I’m sure that any Spanish fans of this blog can understand it in their own lengua! (That’s Spanish for language.)