At first I wasn’t sure to make of this second book featuring “Beanboy” Tucker MacBean. The book was fine, but I had really enjoyed the humor and heart in the first book, and I felt that this one might not be living up to my expectations. I reviewed the first book here when it was named a Cybils Middle Grade finalist in 2013.
The story is different — more of a school story than a sort of coming-of-age story that we got in The Adventures of Beanboy. But there’s nothing like a good school story. Like a novel that draws me in as I see themes of my everyday life — friendship, balance, identity, motherhood — reflected in the pages, such is a school story for most kids. They get to read about situations familiar to them, perhaps on a larger-than-life scale, but still relevant to their lives, those things such as homework, fitting in, crushes, bullies and more.
So the topic warmed me up, seeing it as interesting and relevant to kids, and then – bam – suddenly out of nowhere I could feel Tucker’s sweet spirit , and I was once again charmed.
Tucker is trying to save the art club. They’ve already lost their bulletin board to the girls’ basketball team, and they’ve lost a few members who have moved away. What will happen if they keep dwindling? First, the bulletin board and then maybe their whole club? The club is coming up with ideas to try to boost membership, but Tucker has another plan. He has entered the club in the Dodgeball tournament to help them earn some respect, but he needs to get 14 people to sign up or they’ll have to forfeit. He knows they have the best name — The Artful Dodgers — and he knows they can work well together, but can they stand up to the jocks and make a name for themselves?
There are fun comic book panels throughout the novel, which adds interest to the story.
Cool Beans could easily stand alone, but Tucker’s backstory in The Adventures of Beanboy is rich, so if it sounds like a story you’d like, I recommend that you read that one first.
You should also check out my giveaway of all 3 books in Tony DiTerlizzi’s WondLa series on audio read by Teri Hatcher at 5 Minutes for Mom.
Find more recommendations at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.
Greg Pattridge says
I loved the first Beanboy book, so this one will be more than welcome. Second books are tough. An author has to keep the charm of the MC, while providing a fresh angle to his character. Sounds like this one is successful on both counts.
Yeah, she did well in creating a new storyline.
Loved the first and so did the kids I recommended it to. Yay for book two!
I think my son was a bit too young (a 4th grader), because he liked the idea, but didn’t really stick with the story.
Jenni Enzor says
This sounds intriguing! I like the fact that it has some comic pages in it–my MG sons love books like this. Thanks for featuring it!
There aren’t as many graphics as in some novels, but what’s neat is the comic strip is a part of the story.
This definitely sounds different, and I love running into books like this on Mondays.
Thanks for the feature. 🙂
It definitely will get this one, but may have to buy it for school in order to find a copy to read. Funny books are hard to find, and I did like the first one. if this also charmed you, I think it will be money well spent!
Yeah, it had a different feel, probably not as emotionally charged, but that will probably make it more appealing to most kids, to be honest.
Rosi Hollinbeck says
I haven’t seen these books yet. I can tell I need to find them and make time to read them. Thanks for the review.